Russia puts ultra-secret, satellite-killing missile into combat duty

Russia has put an ultra-secret satellite-destroying ‘star wars’ missile into active service

State news agency TASS quoted a defence ministry source saying the S-550 ‘has entered combat duty’.

The covert weapon is reported to be capable of ‘striking spacecraft, ballistic missile reentry vehicles and hypersonic targets at altitudes of tens of thousands of kilometres’.

The reported deployment claim comes amid high tension between Moscow and the West as Vladimir Putin seeks to strong-arm US president Joe Biden into conceding controversial security guarantees including a Kremlin veto on Ukraine joining NATO.

It follows a frenzy of major Russian war games in recent weeks, and a reported 100,000-plus troops massed close to Ukraine triggering fears of an invasion early next year.

The ministry source told TASS: ‘The S-550 air defence system has successfully completed state trials.

‘The first S-550 brigade has entered combat duty.’

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He described the technology – allegedly far superior to Western and Chinese capabilities – as ‘an absolutely new and unrivalled mobile system of strategic missile defence’.

The anti-satellite S-550 was among the new weapons systems that Putin had demanded should be fast-tracked, defence minister Sergei Shoigu said last month.

Even so, its reported deployment with Russian rocket forces comes ahead of expectations.

TASS said that official channels had not formally confirmed its defence ministry source’s exclusive claim.

The S-550 is seen as part of an air defence modernisation involving the S-350 Vityaz, S-400 Triumf and S-500 Prometheus.

They will ‘completely cover the Russian sky from possible attacks’, it was reported.

Recent Russian reports suggest the S-550 is the same weapon as a ‘satellite killer’ until now known as Nudol, a project clouded in secrecy.

Pro-Kremlin Izvestia newspaper said it was part of ‘one of the most covert domestic weapons programmes’ ever conducted.

Videos showing the launch of an unnamed new missile system at Sary-Shagan in 2020 and earlier this year are now suspected to be this star wars weapon.

‘In Russia the creation of a space defence system able to intercept the most difficult targets, satellites as well as ballistic missiles, has been in progress for more than ten years,’ stated the report.

‘For a long time this combat system was known by the Nudol designation.

‘Specialists assume that this was precisely the system that successfully destroyed a satellite target during its first combat tests on 15 November.’

‘Experts believe that work on the latest weapon has already been completed, and it can acquire the official designation as the S-550 air defence missile system.’

Defence minister Sergei Shoigu personally declassified the S-550 designation before the before November test that blasted the redundant orbiting Soviet-era Tselina-D military reconnaissance satellite to smithereens.

Military expert Dmitry Boltenkov said last month. ‘It is most likely (S-550) will be the official designation acquired by the system being developed under the Nudol research and development project.

‘It will be part of the S-500 family, similar to the several versions of the S-300 and S-400 air defence systems that now exist concurrently.’

Other outlets have suggested that the S-550 and Nudol are separate or linked.

Nudol was believed to use a silo launcher, while the S-550 is said to be mobile.

TASS reported last month that the S-550 features the kinetic energy interceptor principle to avoid a nuclear detonation when a warhead is struck, citing military expert Dmitry Litovkin.

He suggested the S-550 was a mobile follow-up to the A-135 Amur – A-235 Nudol.

Last month both Western and Russian sources suggested the Nudol ‘satellite killer’ was behind the strike which provoked outrage in the US and Europe with claims it had put the International Space Station in jeopardy.

State-controlled Russian Channel One TV host Dmitry Kiselyov – dubbed Putin’s ‘mouthpiece’ and ‘propagandist-in-chief’ -claimed the satellite strike was a deliberate warning to the West not to cross the Kremlin’s red lines on Ukraine.

In the event of worsening relations, Russia could wipe out 32 GPS satellites crucial for NATO’s military operations, including the pinpointing of missile strikes, he claimed.

Putin has prioritised modernising his military might despite a sluggish sanctions-hit economy with living standards failing to improve for tens of millions of Russians.

The Russian leader last week announced a ‘flawless’ salvo test of its 6,670 mph ‘unstoppable’ Zircon hypersonic missiles.

However, as yet footage of this has not been released.

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