Russia may be working on modernizing its strategic missile force by developing advanced nuclear missile systems, but the country is itself vulnerable to similar attacks after delaying the launch of a new satellite-based missile warning system by four months, local media reported Wednesday.
The launch of the military satellite system has been postponed until November, leaving Russia blind in the event of a potential nuclear missile attack, The Moscow Times reported. The country’s aging Soviet-era early warning satellites seriously malfunctioned last year when one of three units went offline, followed by the decommissioning of the remaining two satellites in January.
Russia has been relying on land-based radar systems to detect incoming missiles ever since the malfunction crippled its satellite-based missile warning system. However, according to experts, the radar systems are not as effective as satellites in warning about incoming missiles because they can only detect objects within a specific range, The Moscow Times reported.
Meanwhile, the United States reportedly has at least 16 satellites in orbit, watching for potential enemy missiles targeting the country.
Russia’s Aerospace Defense Forces, the military unit that operates early warning satellites, was expected to launch the new military satellite system, dubbed “united space system,” also called EKS, in July. The new system, which will include 12 EKS satellites, closely integrates with ground-based early warning radars to provide extensive details on global satellite launches.
The Russian military recently test-fired a short-range anti-missile system, which successfully destroyed a simulated target at the designated time. According to officials, the test was aiming at “confirming the performance characteristics of missile defense shield anti-missiles operational in the Aerospace Defense Forces.”