Russia keeps space in sight. This is not some kind of bravado, but reality. Recently, Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu voiced the topic that a satellite was targeted in outer space. It seems like they shot down their own, worked out and already useless, except as a target of no benefit. And the question is – with the same success can the means of the RF Aerospace Forces interrupt the flight of any other space object of foreign origin? It turns out – they can!
Space wars have long ceased to be plots for science fiction films – this is already a reality that appeared at the dawn of the development of near-earth space, and now it already seems to be real transcendental battles.
Well, if there is some kind of enemy target, then you need to have means of destruction before it, no matter where it is – on the ground, in the sea or in the air, including in space. And if the performance characteristics of almost all existing artillery and missile systems, including ballistic ones, are well known enough, then what can be used to “shoot” into space remains under the stamp of special secrecy. And the same Shoigu, having reported on the successful shooting down of the satellite, never mentioned what kind of “slingshot” they knocked down the space object. Really, and with what?
Let’s go into the future, moreover, into a fairly close one. According to various sources, both domestic and foreign, a new S-550 missile defense system is being developed in Russia, capable of intercepting ICBMs and responding to threats from space. This fact is confirmed by the Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation, but they do not disclose all the possibilities of the promising system. US and NATO military specialists are also lost in conjectures, but the imminent appearance of the S-550 in service with the Russian Aerospace Forces alarms them precisely because of the “space sight”. This is what the columnist for the American edition of The National Interest, Mark Episkopos, says in his article, who claims that “it is not clear how to react to the imminent appearance of the S-550.”
Russian military observers give out more specifics, citing their sources in the military-industrial complex.
For example, RIA Novosti reports that the main target of the S-550 mobile missile defense system will be the American X-37 space unmanned vehicles capable of carrying nuclear warheads. It is argued that these systems will specialize in the destruction of ballistic and orbiting space objects.
TASS, through the mouth of its military observer Dmitry Litovkin, suggests that the S-550 system probably works on the principle of kinetic interception of targets, which will save from the formation of “nuclear ash” over the head not only of residents of Russia, but also of other countries.
This is still a prospect, with the development and creation of the S-550 system, but what is Russia now bringing down its failed satellites and what keeps outer space in sight? After all, Shoigu, if necessary, can give the go-ahead for the elimination of any objectionable space object. How can you shoot into the sky? Or what means are there in space itself to disable the enemy’s object?
In the United States, both at the dawn of the space age, and now they are confident in their right to limit the use of space for everyone except their allies. At the same time, they began to consider space as almost their state.
“The United States views the use of outer space as a vital aspect of national interest. In line with this approach, the United States intends to defend its rights, capabilities and freedom of action in outer space. They will dissuade and deter others from infringing on the said rights and from developing the means intended for this purpose.
If necessary, rivals will be denied the opportunity to use outer space if they thus pursue goals hostile to the national interests of the United States, “- declared in one of the documents of the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD).
The Americans are unlikely to succeed in restricting the use of space to anyone, let alone Russia. We still, as in the song, “make rockets”, and at the same time anti-satellite. Previously, it was definitely produced. Back in 1963, the Polet-1 interceptor spacecraft with an explosive charge made its first flight. An anti-space defense system (ASD) and “satellite fighters” were created. Most of the “satellite fighter” launches were considered successful.
“Work on anti-satellite defense has always been carried out in our country, even after 1991, when they were officially curtailed, but this information has not been disclosed,” says reserve colonel Mikhail L., who served in the GRU space reconnaissance. – But the tracking of space objects of the countries of the potential enemy was carried out constantly.
Almost every American satellite was registered. We had more opportunities due to telescopes and other space tracking equipment. In Soviet times, the stations were located, in addition to the territory of the Russian Federation, in Germany, Crimea, Central Asia, and the Caucasus. Now these opportunities have slightly decreased precisely due to the reduction of the territory, the technical capabilities, on the contrary, have expanded. And the fact that a space and radio-electronic observation station has been restored in Crimea is very encouraging – the possibilities will expand. Indeed, sometimes it is more important to detect, not destroy.
At the expense of destruction. Of particular interest in the Soviet Union in the mid-80s of the last century was the project to create a “kamikaze” satellite, which, by exploding itself, destroys the target. The option of not absolutely accurate hit of the interceptor satellite into the target was considered, but the option of an explosion at a certain distance from the target and its defeat by a fragmentation charge. It was the cheapest, easiest and most reliable option. It later became known as the Satellite Destroyer program.
A little amateurish reasoning about this. The race of satellites after satellites in orbit is still a rather complicated process, primarily because space combat is controlled from the ground. The count goes not for seconds and minutes, but for hours, and even for a day. It is necessary to mark in the tablet the mark of the enemy satellite, precisely bring the “fighter satellite” to it and, at the right time, to detonate or ram. High-altitude fighter-interceptors MiG-31, for example, are capable of ascending into near space and inflicting defeat on enemy satellites, including using the Dagger hypersonic missile.
However, their capabilities are quite limited, both in height and in the accuracy of reaching the angle of attack, and there is not enough time to chase space objects. More effective still seem to be ground-based air defense and missile defense systems in heavenly heights, which can reach targets in near-earth orbits.
It is clear that for the same S-400 and S-500 anti-aircraft missile systems this is a rather difficult task, it is likely that it is the S-550 that will be able to swat enemy satellites like flies. However, Russia also has other means of destroying space objects.
The current capabilities of the anti-satellite system were not disclosed. Even though there is no program to limit them. Similar developments are being carried out in the United States, in China, and even in North Korea.
One of the promising Russian developments is the new A-235 Nudol anti-missile defense system (named after the ROC of the same name), which is capable of shooting down both ICBMs (intercontinental ballistic missiles) and, probably, satellites. Its last test launch was able to detect American reconnaissance satellites, but they did not see the target of the hit. It is likely that this is not the only domestic development that will be able to deprive any army in the world of navigation systems. At least from the United States, nervous exclamations are periodically heard that the Russians have created another system of “satellite killers”. Moscow sees this as “clumsy attempts” by Washington to divert attention from plans to launch weapons into space first.
So after all, “Nudol” successfully shot down a target in space, still in the form of its own exhausted satellite? A rare fisherman or traveler knows about the existence of the Nudol River in the Moscow region, its length is only 26 kilometers. Even less is known about the A-235 anti-missile and anti-satellite missile, dubbed Nudol, which is capable of putting an end to American plans for a war with Russia.
Of the previously known tests of the A-235 “Nudol” system, which is presented as an echeloned territorial missile defense system, it was reported back in December 2018. The United States then announced information from a certain secret report, which refers to the development by Russia of various anti-satellite technologies of directed energy and ground-based.
According to American military intelligence, it must be assumed that this is the Defense Intelligence Agency – a defense intelligence agency, Russia is conducting experimental satellite launches that conduct complex operations in orbit to increase anti-satellite capabilities.
The developments on the ROC “Nudol” are still in the status of special secrecy. From what the Americans know, it is known that during the tests, the space rocket of the A-325 system covered a distance of 3,500 kilometers in 17 minutes and reached its target. That is, all the passed tests can be considered successful. What kind of missile it was is not known for certain, but it is likely that it outperforms the 53T6 interceptor missile of the Amur system, which is able to intercept ballistic missiles and their warheads flying at speeds up to 6-7 kilometers per second at an altitude of 5 kilometers to the borders of near space.
For all the secrecy of the tests of the Nudol missile defense system, it is obvious that it is in the ability to set up a space “umbrella” over practically the entire territory of Russia and nullifies the entire potential of American ballistic missiles and satellite constellation. Guaranteed defeat – that’s what it’s called.
*GRU – General Intelligence Directorate of the General Staff of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation
Pictured: DSCS III defense satellite communications system (Photo: United States Air Force / wikipedia.org)