Russia conducted another successful flight test of its new anti-satellite missile system last month, 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.
The latest revelation comes on the heels of the Pentagon's 108-page missile defense review, which marks the first overhaul of America's missile defense doctrine in nearly a decade. The unclassified review, which singles out emerging Russian, Chinese, North Korean and Iranian missile threats, also focuses on anti-satellite capabilities that "could threaten U.S. space-based assets."
According to the missile review, "Russia is developing a diverse suite of anti-satellite capabilities, including ground-launched missiles and directed-energy weapons, and continues to launch 'experimental' satellites that conduct sophisticated on-orbit activities to advance counterspace capabilities."
Russia's PL-19 Nudol, a system U.S. military intelligence assesses will be focused primarily on anti-satellite missions, was successfully tested twice in 2018. The weapon, which was fired from a mobile launcher, was last tested on Dec. 23 and marked the seventh overall test of the system, according to one of the people who spoke on the condition of anonymity.
The Russian anti-satellite weapon is expected to target communication and imagery satellites in low Earth orbit, according to the other person, who also spoke on condition of anonymity. For reference, the International Space Station and the Hubble Space Telescope travel in low Earth orbit.
While anti-satellite missiles are by no means new, the latest revelation comes less than a year after Putin touted his nation's growing military arsenal.
"I want to tell all those who have fueled the arms race over the last 15 years, sought to win unilateral advantages over Russia, introduced unlawful sanctions aimed to contain our country's development: You have failed to contain Russia," Putin said during a national address in March.