MOSCOW, Dec. 31 (UPI) -- Russia plans to resume production of railway-based intercontinental ballistic missiles with prototypes to be deployed by 2020, RIA Novosti reported.
Work on a prototype is already under way, a senior Russian defense industry official told the news agency on condition of anonymity.
ICBMs were first put onto Russian railways in 1987, but all had been destroyed by 2005 under the START II arms reduction treaty with the United States.
New START, the treaty's replacement signed in 2010, does not ban railway-based ICBMs.
The new missiles will be half the weight of the previous missiles, the industry source said.
Three locomotives were needed to move the railway-based missiles of the 1980s and tracks were often damaged because of the immense loads.
The mobile missiles had been developed because it was thought they would be harder to identify and target than fixed launch sites.
One Russian military expert called the return to such a cumbersome technology "a bad idea."
"We're better off developing telecoms systems, unmanned drones and precision weapons, not these monsters," Alexander Konovalov told RIA Novosti.