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Russia tests ‘anti-satellite’ missile

Russia has conducted a successful test of an anti-satellite missile, it has been reported.

According to the Washington Free Beacon, it was the third successful test of the PL-19 Nudol missile out of five tests in total. The missile was launched from a base in central Russia on 16 December and was monitored by the USA, the publication added.

According to CNN, US intelligence didn’t track any debris, suggesting that a target wasn’t destroyed during the test.

Russia purportedly says that the missile is intended for defence against ballistic missiles.

An anti-satellite missile could wreak havoc on a military’s capabilities, targeting communications and spy satellites as well as GPS satellites. The latter is especially crucial, as many US weapons such as cruise missiles and smart bombs require GPS guidance for optimal accuracy.

The weapon tested by Russia is the latest chapter in the ongoing saga of anti-satellite missiles

Intelligence agencies told the publication that US military capabilities could be “severely disrupted” by roughly two dozen satellite attacks. These attacks would undoubtedly affect satellites from other nations as well, owing to the debris fields that would inevitably be created.

Russia isn’t the only country developing anti-satellite missiles though, as China has conducted several tests of its DN-2 missile as well.

The USA has expertise in this field too, having destroyed a satellite back in 2008 with a ship-based SM-3 missile. The nation even tested a rather interesting ASM-135 missile in the 1980s, being launched from an F-15 Eagle fighter jet.

Featured image: File screenshot of a US satellite launch

Author | Hadlee Simons

Hadlee Simons
Terrible puns make Hadlee Simons difficult to work with, but he brings over seven years of tech journalism experience to the table. When he's not at work or watching motorsport, he's in the foetal position on a jiu jitsu mat. More

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