According to Popular Mechanics, Russian military and communications satellite systems have been underperforming throughout the war in Ukraine, making it difficult for Russia to conduct precision missile strikes. The problem is not just the satellites themselves but also the lack of ground systems and procedures to receive and disseminate data to those who need it. While Ukraine’s military is reaping enormous benefits from commercial communications and photographic satellites, Russia is only getting meager rewards from its huge investment in military spacecraft. Despite having more than 160 satellites in orbit, Russia has not been able to conduct precision strikes due to a lack of reconnaissance capability. What Russia lacks is the right mix of satellites, as well as the ground systems and procedures to receive and disseminate data to those who need it. Funding for future Russian satellites is uncertain, and the imposition of Western sanctions after the 2014 annexation of Crimea has hampered investment in reconnaissance systems. Troops also lack satellite communications terminals, exacerbating the Russian military’s rigid and compartmentalized command system.
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