Russia’s Strategic Missile Troops (or Strategic Rocket Forces) on Dec. 16 seem to have again successfully tested an anti-satellite (ASAT) weapon that sought out a simulated target in low Earth orbit (LEO).
The hit-to-kill interceptor was taken into LEO by an A-235 Nudol ASAT missile launched from a base in central Russia. This is the fifth Nudol missile test and the third successful flight.
The previous test of this missile occurred in June when a Nudol was launched from the Plesetsk cosmodrome located 500 miles north of Moscow. The first successful test of the A-235 took place in November 2015 and can be viewed in this video.
The missile test of Dec.16 was monitored by U.S. intelligence satellites. Experts said the test was another milestone in Russia’s efforts to develop ASAT weapons that can destroy U.S. navigation, communications and intelligence satellites.
Russia hasn’t confirmed there was a missile launch and test on Dec. 16, however, in keeping with its strategic policy of confusing its foes. There is also no information if the Nudol was fired at a satellite.
Russia’s cover story for the Dec. 16 test is the A-235 isn’t an ASAT but an anti-ballistic missile. Moscow has kept claiming Nudol is an anti-ballistic missile.
Western experts, however, note there is no clear difference between an ASAT missile and an anti-ballistic missile since this weapon will have to reach the edge of space to do its job.
The U.S. tracked the missile but didn’t detect debris, indicating it was aimed at a specific point in space. This means the missile was launched to intercept a satellite, which travels along a predictable orbit and is, therefore, easier to intercept than a maneuvering ballistic missile.
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“We have very good surveillance and intelligence capabilities, so we can see the threats that are being built,” said Gen. John Hyten, commander of U.S. Strategic Command in November. “So we’re developing capabilities to defend ourselves.”
The A-235 Nudol is an anti-ballistic missile system under development. This system is designed to defeat a nuclear attack on Moscow and important industrial regions. Main developer of the system is JSC Concern VKO Almaz-Antey.
Source:- China Topix
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