Russia has conducted its third successful flight test on the PL-19 Nudol missile capable of destroying U.S. communications and navigation satellites. The test occurred in central Russia, according to U.S. intelligence agencies monitoring the tests.
So far, five tests in total have been carried out by Russian military officials for the Nudol missile program. Earlier tests took place May 24 and Nov. 18, 2015. Previous tests of the 500 miles north of Moscow, at a facility near Plesetsk. It has yet to be determined if the Nudol missile was sent into space or fired in a sub-orbital trajectory.
“We generally don’t comment on other countries’ capabilities,” Pentagon spokeswoman Lt. Col. Michelle Baldanza said in her declination to answer questions to media. However, it is known that the Pentagon views the Nudol as a “direct ascent” anti-satellite missile, despite Moscow claiming the missile is for defense against incoming ballistic missiles.
“They are developing capabilities that concern us,” said Gen. John Hyten, the commander of Air Force Space Command, in regards to Russia and China developing these programs as a front for anti-missile counteraction, when in reality their programs can target U.S. satellites.
Pentagon strategic arms policymaker Mark Schneider comments that the development of anti-satellite countermeasures between the U.S. and foreign nations “is of enormous significance,” and then further makes the following claim: “Potentially, it could result in our defeat in a high intensity conflict. The complete loss of the GPS network, or its serious degradation, would eliminate the effectiveness of all existing long-range conventional strike cruise missiles and would degrade the functioning of many of our precision guided weapons.”