Russia sets up ballistic missile early warning satellite grouping to monitor the US

Russia sets up ballistic missile early warning satellite grouping to monitor the US

Russia has set up a new space early warning segment comprising four satellites as part of its missile attack defence system to continuously monitor the US for possible ballistic missile launches, a source in the defense industry told Russian state media. 

The Russian missile attack early warning system reportedly is formed by two echelons: the space segment that currently comprises four Tundra satellites and the ground-based component that consists of Voronezh-type radar stations that cover all missile-dangerous directions.

The early warning system has been designated to detect and track ballistic missiles launched towards the territory of Russia or its strategic allies.

“With the launch of the fourth Tundra-type space vehicle from the Plesetsk cosmodrome on May 22, the Kupol integrated space system has been brought to the minimum required structure and allows tracking any launches of ballistic missiles and space rockets from the territory of the US. The satellites are accomplishing their mission in working orbits in full,” the source told Russian state media. 

The first three Tundra satellites were launched in 2015, 2017 and 2019.

The satellites “are equipped with next-generation infrared surveillance devices that make it possible to register with high precision the launches of missiles against the background of the Earth’s surface,” he said.

The satellites are also “capable of tracking the trajectory of the flight of ballistic missiles and predict the areas of the fall of their warheads in the automatic mode,” he added.

The four Tundra satellites are reportedly moving around the Earth in highly elliptical orbits with a maximum altitude of over 35,000 km of their flight above the planet. The satellites’ flight paths are located at angles to each other, forming the so-called constellation over the Northern hemisphere, the source specified.

Neal Path

Neal Path is a reporter covering international affairs and defense news. He leads a team of specialist technical journalists and defense forecasting analysts, working across a range of online products. Neal Path is a defense technology specialist and has written widely on most areas of defense technology, but his particular areas of interest include missile defense, precision weapons, naval warfare, sensor capabilities and military operations.