Russia has successfully test-fired an anti-satellite missile system that is reportedly capable of disrupting US navigation and communications satellites.
Citing two people with direct knowledge of a classified US intelligence report, CNBC reported on Friday that the system, dubbed PL-19 Nudol, was put to the test twice last year.
The most recent test of the system came on December 23, when the anti-satellite missile flew for 17 minutes before successfully splashing down in its target area 1,864 miles away, CNBC wrote.
The successful launch was the seventh overall test of the system, according to one of the sources who was speaking on condition of anonymity.
The new missile system is capable of targeting communication and imagery satellites in low Earth orbit, according to another unnamed source.
The revelation came shortly after US President Donald Trump personally unveiled the first overhaul of US missile defense doctrine in nearly a decade, which made establishing a space force as a a new branch of the US military a priority.
“Russia is developing a diverse suite of anti-satellite capabilities, including ground-launched missiles and directed-energy weapons, and continues to launch ‘experimental’ satellites that conduct sophisticated on-orbit activities to advance counter-space capabilities,” the missile defense review stated.
The new plan called for developing space-based alarm systems to detect incoming missiles and space-based weapons that could intercept incoming threats among a series of other steps to defend the US mainland.
“Our goal is simple: To ensure we can detect and destroy any missile launched against the United States – anywhere, anytime, anyplace,” Trump said as he unveiled the review at the Pentagon..
To achieve that objective, the plan called for investments in space-based sensors that could better detect and track incoming missiles. Russia’s foreign ministry warned that Trump’s new missile strategy would unleash a dangerous arms race in space.
The Russian Foreign Ministry condemned the strategy as an “irresponsible” act which “gives the green light to the prospect of basing missile strike capabilities in space.”