Monday, January 18, 2021

Russia Gearing Up for Expanded Military Competition in Space, Moscow Analyst Says

Paul Goble

            Staunton, January 16 – Only four countries currently have the capacity to disable or destroy the satellites of others – the United States, Russia, China and India – but Russian experts expect that others will join them in the next decade, prompting Moscow to commit to developing and deploying more satellite killers now and in the near future, Igor Voron says.

             Moscow is not talking much about this, the Russian security analyst points out; but occasional media reports about the capabilities of new defensive systems show that the Russian authorities are worried about military competition in space and taking steps to avoid suffering defeat (

            For most of the last 60 years, the USSR and the United States were the only players in this new geopolitical game, with each matching the innovations with steps of its own. But in the 1990s, two things happened: Russia fell behind and other countries entered this new environment.

            Over the last 15 years, Moscow has made significant steps to improve its situation; and in doing so, it has focused not just on responding to what the US is doing but also on having the capacity to respond to activities by other powers, either those already taking part in this competition or likely to enter it soon.

            Voron provides details about what is publicly known about Russian satellite killers and concludes that both American actions and the entrance of new players in space are going to force Moscow to devote ever more resources to remain in a position to take out satellites and counter any challenges to itself or that might force it to intervene otherwise in new conflicts.

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