Mysterious Russian missile identified as anti-satellite weapon will be ready for warfare by 2022

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(Photo: CNBC)

 

  • A mysterious missile photographed last month on a Russian jet is believed to be a mock-up of an anti-satellite weapon, three sources with direct knowledge of a U.S. intelligence report say.
  • The Russian anti-satellite weapon, which is attached to a space launch vehicle, is expected to target communication and imagery satellites in low Earth orbit, according to one source, who spoke on the condition of anonymity.
  • The weapon is expected to join Moscow’s arsenal by 2022.

WASHINGTON — A never-before-seen missile photographed last month on a Russian MiG-31 interceptor is believed to be a mock-up of an anti-satellite weapon that will be ready for warfare by 2022, three sources with direct knowledge of a U.S. intelligence report say.

The Russian anti-satellite weapon, which is attached to a space launch vehicle, is expected to target communication and imagery satellites in low Earth orbit, according to one source, who spoke on condition of anonymity. For reference, the International Space Station and the Hubble Space Telescope travel in low Earth orbit.

Images of the mysterious missile on a modified Russian MiG-31, a supersonic near-space interceptor, appeared in mid-September.

Initial testing of the mock system began in September and is slated to run through Wednesday, according to one of the sources. The tests, which are referred to as a “captive carry tests,” are designed to evaluate the mock weapon during flight, according to the source.

“These are the types of tests you do first in order to gain confidence that the weapon and air frame are going to work together during flight,” a source explained to CNBC, adding that the next testing milestone will occur in 2019.

“I want to tell all those who have fueled the arms race over the last 15 years, sought to win unilateral advantages over Russia, introduced unlawful sanctions aimed to contain our country’s development: You have failed to contain Russia,” Putin said during a national address in March.

Full article: Mysterious Russian missile identified as anti-satellite weapon will be ready for warfare by 2022 (CNBC)

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