Russia works on new-generation space radio intelligence system

Lotos-S and Pion-NKS radio surveillance satellites are planned to replace two aged Soviet Tselina satellites and create the upgraded ELINT system for land and sea military surveillance. The electronic intelligence will be capable of locating ground-level radio signal emissions coming from both stationary and moving objects, thus providing valuable information on enemy military activity. Lotos-S is responsible for the ground component, while the Pion satellite is responsible for naval surveillance.

“Today, we will discuss the implementation of instructions on creating a Liana space system using Lotos-S and Pion-NKS spacecraft,” Shoigu said at a ministry meeting. The creation and running of a satellite constellation required for the system is a priority for the government, he added.

“The success of the implementation directly depends on the quality of work by enterprises, including both developers and manufacturers in the space industry,” the minister said.

The first Lotos-S was launched in 2009 but numerous problems with its system precluded it from functioning properly. The issues were later resolved and a second satellite was launched in 2014. Serial production kicked off in 2015, and the Defense Ministry plans to complete the system next year.

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