© CC BY-SA 4.0 / José Furtado
Russia already has deployed in low-earth orbit a "nesting doll" satellite armed with a weapon that can destroy US satellites vital for communications, command and control and precision targeting, Space Force Commander General John Raymond said on Tuesday.

"Russia has a nesting doll satellite [in orbit] to destroy US satellites, armed with a weapon to destroy US satellites," Raymond told the Air Force Association (AFA) Air Space Cyber Conference at National Harbor in the US state of Maryland. "It denies our ability to leverage space as a force multiplier."

Raymond claimed the satellite is designed like a Russian "nesting doll," with an outer casing that opens up to reveal an inner satellite shell and that shell also opens to reveal a weapon that can fire at and destroy US orbiting satellites from a safe distance

He went on to posit that the satellite is targeted at destroying US space assets that are essential for accurate long-range precision targeting and fires for "smart" munitions launched from bombers and other weapons.

The Russian satellite Kosmos 2542 was launched in November 2019 and in December 2019, it released a sub-satellite, Kosmos-2543 which then carried out a series of manoeuvres that US military officials interpreted as a show of force, published reports said.

Russia has given no credence to the claims that the satellite system was offensive in nature.