New commercial satellite imagery shows hidden launch areas of the Russian anti-ballistic missile and anti-satellite weapon system in the area of Plesetsk spaceport in northern Russia.
In reports released by Russia’s media, researchers said that launch areas of the newest PL-19 Nudol anti-satellite weapon system located it the Plesetsk military spaceport (approximately 800 kilometers north of Moscow), at the ex-launch site of the Cyclone-2 rocket.
Approximately, the construction of launch sites of new anti-satellite missiles began in late 2015 – early 2016, by the summer of 2017. The western site was ready, the construction of the eastern site was completed somewhat later.
Around the sites were spotted preparations are underway for large-scale construction of infrastructure, deforestation and preparation of construction sites for facilities are being carried out.
While Moscow claims that the Nudol is an anti-missile system, U.S. intelligence officials say the system is designed primarily for anti-satellite missions.
Russia is developed new mobile weapon system to target communication and imagery satellites in low Earth orbit and counter enemy missiles targeting important industrial regions.
The PL-19 Nudol anti-ballistic missile system should replace the current one — Soviet-era A135 anti-ballistic missile system. It consists of the Don-2N battle management radar and three types of missiles installed on MZKT-792911 chassis.
The long-range version, based on the 51T6 and capable of destroying targets at distances up to 1500 km (930 miles), at altitudes up to 800,000 m; medium-range, an update of the 58R6, designed to hit targets at distances up to 1000 km (620 miles), at altitudes up to 120,000 m; and short-range (the 53T6M or 45T6 (based on the 53T6)), with an operating range of 350 km (215 miles) and a flight ceiling of 40,000-50,000 m.
The long-range missiles will most likely be equipped with nuclear warheads, while the others will have kinetic energy warheads.
According to military experts, the future of missile defense system Nudol and other modern S-500 missile system will form the basis for comprehensive, integrated aerospace defense system of Russia, which will include a variety of modern ground-based detection tools, which include included missile attack warning stations. Head developer of the complex is Concern PVO “Almaz-Antei”. The development of long-range intercept missiles is probably done by OKB “Innovator”.
The Nudol was first successfully tested in late-2015.
US network CNBC also reported that Russia conducted the latest flight test of its new anti-satellite missile system last December, according to two people with direct knowledge of a classified U.S. intelligence report.
The anti-satellite missile flew for 17 minutes and 1,864 miles before successfully splashing down in its target area.
In December 2014, the general designer of Almaz-Antey Pavel Sozinov said that in the near future the Russian military will receive domestic counterparts of US missile defense systems THAAD and GMD. At the same time, the analogue of GMD, Sozinov noted, is being created in the mobile version and should be more efficient than the system from the USA.