Ukraine: Russia hides a short-range ballistic missile on a train

The analyzes were made by Ivan Kirichevsky for Defense Express. Their assessments, opinions and comments on the topic do not reflect the position of


KYIV, ($1=26.69 Ukrainian Hryvnia) – The Russians survived the loss of Iskander complexes from a retaliatory attack during the Karabakh war in 2020. It is therefore logical that they are looking for different formats to cover up their “miracle weapon” to reduce possible losses during the “great war” with Ukraine.

Russian army may receive a combat rail-mobile missile system 'Barguzin'
Photo credit: Wikipedia

The news was that on September 15, 2021, North Korea showed its “missile train” for the first time. Two KN-23 ballistic missiles, which are visually completely similar to the quasi-ballistic missiles of the Russian Iskander complex, were fired from this train at a range of 800 kilometers.

There is an immediate association with the “missile” trains of the USSR, which have the designation BJRK and which acted as carriers of intercontinental ballistic missiles RT-23, developed in our KB “South”.

The author of this text suggests – it seems that we were shown the development of Russian designers who can look for camouflage formats for their Iskander missile systems.

We recall the experience of the war in Karabakh in 2020, when the Armenians did not make any successful launches of their Iskanders on targets in Azerbaijan, the retaliatory strikes killed 50% of the available missile systems of this type.

The Russians are also unlikely to forget about it. And even if Russia can send 4 to 6 missile brigades to the Western and Southern Military Districts against Ukraine, that is, up to 72 self-propelled launchers and up to 288 missiles, it is unlikely that in the event of a “big war” the Russians to “launch such missiles” in the white light as a penny, without the threat of revenge. You can’t do without camouflage.

For comparison – from the Soviet missiles BJRK was fired with a powder charge, the engines were included in flight and all this – to inflict less damage to the car with the launcher.

The designers of the Soviet BJRK assumed that their offspring would be too heavy for the railway tracks, so they tried to evenly distribute the mass of various elements of their rocket trains on the track.

Therefore, the Soviet BJRK consisted of three modules of 3 cars each, in the “center” of each module was the heaviest element – a car with a starter.

North Korea’s missile train is somewhat chaotic. In the “tail” of the train – a wagon with a starter, whose weight can reach 60 tons [20 tons – the weight of the wagon and up to 40 tons – the weight of the launcher “Iskander”].

In the center of the train – wagon “teplushka” to accommodate the service of the complex [weight – up to 20 tons], well, in the head – a locomotive weighing up to 100 tons. It is impossible to hide such a train from the eyes of the enemy, at least because in North Korea the locomotive is a rarity, where the railways run mainly on electric traction, or sometimes – steam locomotives are used at all.

A “rocket” train is a story that can be used in an area where there is an extensive rail network and where there are fewer “extra eyes”.

Therefore, the author of this text will make the following assumption – the Russians may try to hide “Iskanders” under railway cars or on the border with Ukraine, or in general – in the occupied areas of Donetsk and Lugansk region [both there and there – there is a wide network of railway lines].

At first glance, it may seem – “so Ukraine must also hide its missile systems under cars!”. “It is better not to do it,” says the author of this text, familiar with the disappointing realities of railway transport in our country.

In addition, there is a better option for an asymmetric response of the Russians – to put the missile system in a “civilian” container for road transport.

And also that the launcher for the container-based missile is being developed not only by the Russians from their Club-K but also by the American Northrop Grumman, which wants to have a ground version of the AARGM missile.

General designer – CEO of GosKKB “Ray” Oleg Korostelov recently noted that “Neptune” can be adapted for strikes on ground targets.

Such a missile system in Ukraine would be worth putting in a “container” launch vehicle. We would stop suffering from the KRAZ or Tatra chassis dichotomy, and the Russians would begin to suffer from how to find a covert and dangerous Neptune.


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