108 Russian Military Satellites Active in Space, 14 Units Launched Throughout 2022

108 Russian Military Satellites Active in Space, 14 Units Launched Throughout 2022

Russia's massive military operation in Ukraine, which began on February 24, not only boosted military activity in the land, sea and air dimensions, Russia's space aspect has experienced a surge in activity which is said to be the biggest in recent years. This was summarized by the Jamestown Foundation on December 16, which implies a significant increase in the launch of Russian military satellites throughout 2022.

Overall, throughout 2022, Russia has launched three navigation satellites, two intelligence satellites, three inspector satellites, four recon satellites, and two optical imaging satellites. imaging satellites). As of December 2022, a total of 108 Russian military satellites are actively orbiting space.

Among the last launched were two GLONASS-K1 navigation satellites, and finally the GLONASS-M satellite; two Lotos-S1 electronic intelligence satellites; three inspector satellites, Cosmos-2558, launched in August, and both Cosmos-2561 and Cosmos-2562 launched in October; four reconnaissance satellites, a Neitron radar imaging satellite, a Bars-M cartographic satellite and two EO-MKA (also known as EMKA) optical imaging satellites (both of which disappeared just weeks after entering orbit in April and October respectively); one Meridian-M communication satellite; and one Tundra early warning satellite.

In total, as of December 2022, the number of active Russian military satellites reached 108 units. These include 25 GLONASS navigation satellites, 48 communications satellites, eight electronic intelligence satellites (including six Lotos-S1), five optical imaging satellites (including three Bars-M cartography satellites), two radar imaging satellites, six early warning satellites, five inspector satellites. /space observation, two geodetic satellites and five technology development satellites.

The frequency of launches this year was revealed by analysts to be higher than in previous years, which was partly aimed at offsetting the delays in the GLONASS and Bars-M projects.

Today, Russia maintains its space communications assets but struggles with the degradation of space navigation systems and still faces decades of deficiencies in aspects of space reconnaissance, which it seeks to partially fill by boosting electronic intelligence capabilities.

Nevertheless, Moscow continues to invest its limited and relatively useless resources which do not enhance its military capabilities, but serve as a symbol for maintaining Russia's role as a great power rival to the United States in outer space.

In 2021, eight GLONASS-K1 satellites and four GLONASS-K2 satellites are at different stages of production, with plans to contract 11 more GLONASS-K2 satellites.

Therefore, following the launch of two more GLONASS-K1 satellites in 2022, now six navigation satellites of this type are planned for launch in 2024. In addition, up to 15 GLONASS-K2 satellites are planned to be sent into orbit in 2030. Despite the uncertainties and Such a seemingly odd contradiction in planning would mean that Russia would have to launch three navigation satellites annually.

In previous years, the Russian military was able to rely on the Resurs-P civilian high-resolution optical imaging satellite, but all three satellites launched between 2013 and 2016 were decommissioned in 2022.

By 2023, Russia plans to deploy several civilian satellites, which may be used by the Russian Armed Forces for reconnaissance purposes: one Resurs-P satellite and two radar imaging satellites, the advanced Obzor-R and Kondor-FKA, which are based on export versions of the Kondor satellites...

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Analysts say the problem is that Moscow's resources are limited, but they are spread out among so many projects. In fact, planning delays and a lack of essential technologies and components combined with an inability to effectively rely on the civilian and commercial space sector for military purposes, have limited the Kremlin's options for scaling up its space program in the near future.

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