Russia Tests New Anti-Ballistic Missile Interceptor

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On February 12, Russian officials announced they had conducted a successful test launch of a new anti-ballistic missile interceptor. According to the deputy commander of the Air and Space Defense Alliance, Andrei Prikhodko, “The missile’s tactical and technical characteristics regarding the range, precision and operational lifetime are significantly higher compared to present-day weapons.” Reports indicate the interceptor is an upgraded version of the Novator 53T6 (NATO: Gazelle) endoatmospheric anti-ballistic missile that is currently deployed with Russia’s A-135 (NATO: ABM-3 Gorgon) missile defense system. The Ministry of Defense posted a video of the test launch, which took place at Kazakhstan’s Sary Shagan test range. The A-135 system entered service in the 1990s to replace the Soviet-era A-35 anti-missile system, and is designed to intercept an ICBM strike against Moscow.