The Russian Defense Ministry has plans to launch a new orbital surveillance system aimed to bolster the reconnaissance capabilities of the Aerospace Defense Forces. What kinds of capabilities will the new system have? One of Russia’s leading online news and analysis portals spoke to military experts to try and find out.
On Thursday, Kommersant newspaper provided a few details about a new orbital surveillance system being developed for the Russian Ministry of Defense. The new system, consisting of three brand new Razdan-class satellites, is set to be lifted into orbit between 2019 and 2024 from the Plesetsk Cosmodrome. The system will complement and eventually replace the Persona-class optical-electronic satellites presently used by the military. The new satellite is being developed by the TsSKB-Progress research and production center.
Unfortunately, very little information has been made public about the new surveillance satellite’s capabilities. In any case, Kommersant reported that the Razdan will feature a significant improvement over the capabilities of its predecessors, including a new high-speed secure radio channel. The second and third satellites launched are also expected to feature new optics with an objective lens diameter of 2 meters.
Much more is known about Razdan’s predecessor, the 14F137 Persona. Between 2008 and 2015, the Russian military launched three Persona-class surveillance satellites. The first was lost in 2008 due to a technical fault. The second and third devices (launched in June 2013 and June 2015, respectively) remain in perfect working order, and rumor has it that they are being actively used in Russia’s anti-terrorist operation in Syria.
The satellites are charged with providing the Russian General Staff with highly detailed operational imagery. Moreover, the military’s need for operational intelligence in Syria has proven so great that the military has turned to using civilian satellites of the Resurs and Kanopus class.
According to military experts speaking to the independent online newspaper Svobodnaya Pressa, the launch of the new satellites is expected to significantly enhance the Russian military’s space-based surveillance capabilities.
Full article: Russia’s Advanced New Surveillance Satellites to Keep an Eye on US Carriers (Spacewar)