Russia Flight Tests Anti-Satellite Missile

Moscow joins China in space warfare buildup

Russia carried out the first successful flight test of a new anti-satellite missile this month, marking a new phase in the global militarization of space.

The flight test of Russia’s direct ascent anti-satellite missile, known as Nudol, took place Nov. 18, according to defense officials familiar with reports of the test.

It was the first successful test in three attempts, said officials who spoke on condition of anonymity.

With the successful anti-satellite missile test, Russia has joined China in arming its forces with strategic space warfare weapons.

Twenty days earlier China conducted a flight test of its anti-satellite missile. The Dong Neng-3 direct ascent missile was tested on Oct. 30 in western China.

A Pentagon spokesman had no immediate comment on the Russian missile test.

Air Force Space Command commander Gen. John Hyten warned this month that both Russia and China are developing space warfare capabilities that threaten critical U.S. satellites.

“They are developing capabilities that concern us,” Hyten said, according to a report in the Colorado Springs Gazette published a day before the test.

Little information is available on the secretive Russian program. However, as with China, the Russian direct ascent missile appears linked to its missile defense programs.

Russian state-run press reports have identified the mobile transporter-launcher for what is described as “a new Russian long-range missile defense and space defense intercept complex.” The weapon is “being developed within the scope of the Nudol OKR [experimental development project],” Novosti reported in 2014.

The new weapon is being developed by the Almaz-Antey Air Defense Concern.

Hyten, the Space Command commander, said he does not want to see conflict extend to space but also noted “we have to be able to defend ourselves.”

Hyten said several nations, including Russia, North Korea, China, and Iran, are developing anti-satellite capabilities.

Rep. Mike Pompeo (R., Kansas) said the Russian test is a concern.

“As President Obama cuts our defense budget and seeks to ally with Putin, the Russians continue to develop their technological abilities to weaponize space and to take out our national technical means—kinetically and through cyber,” said Pompeo, a member of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence.

“We can foolishly turn a blind eye to these developments, or acknowledge this threat and develop our own capabilities to ensure that our satellites—military and commercial—are not susceptible to attack or blackmail,” he told the Washington Free Beacon.

Full article: Russia Flight Tests Anti-Satellite Missile (Washington Free Beacon)

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