Recent news about a new development in Russia's military will, at the very least, keep America's Department of Defense guessing. This low-tech option will make it increasingly difficult for the United States to use a pre-emptive strike against Russia's nuclear weaponry one of the aims of the Conventional Prompt Global Strike (CPGS) program which is designed to allow the United States to deliver a missile to any target on earth within an hour.
As reported by Sputnik/RIA, Russia has developed a rail-based missile system, Barguzin or BZHRK, which has successfully passed testing. The missile ejection/pop-up tests took place in November 2016 at the Plesetsk Cosmodrome and were considered successful, setting the way for additional flight testing. While there is nothing particularly new about the missiles used, the means of transporting them around Russia has now reached a new milestone. In the past, the rail cars used to transport Soviet-era missiles were of different dimensions than normal rail cars, making them an easier target for American/NATO anti-missile activities. In its newest iteration, the rail cars used are indistinguishable from normal rail refrigeration car and can be used on standard gauge surface rail lines, making it a "nightmare for enemy (i.e. NATO/American) intelligence. Please note that this is a replacement for the Cold War era Barguzin system that was abandoned in 2005.
Here is a video showing how the system works:
The system can carry up to six RS-24 Yars ICBMs and uses a new combat control system which has protected digital communications channels as well as a new launching platform. The RS-24 missile is relatively new, entering service in 2010. It is 20.9 metres long, has a weight of 49 tonnes and can carry between 6 and 10 MIRVS (i.e independently controlled warheads), each with a yield of between 100 and 300 kilotons. It has a range of 12000 kilometres and a circular error probable or CEP (i.e. accuracy) of between 150 and 200 metres. It takes approximately 7 minutes for a three man crew to launch the RS-24. Here is a video showing the road-mobile version of the missile on parade through Red Square and a launch of the RS-24:
In the next stage of testing, additional missiles will be launched from their new rail-based transports and it is expected that the entire system will be operational by 2018 and is expected to remain in service until 2040. The trains will be able to travel up to 1000 kilometres in a 24 hour period and can launch its missiles when either stationary or moving. Given Russia's massive rail infrastructure and the fact that it has the largest geographic area of any nation on earth, a missile-bearing train could pretty much hide in plain sight, rendering the American Conventional Prompt Global Strike program pretty much impotent.