Russia is developing a weapon capable of hitting targets in earth orbit. This statement was made by the head of Strategic command of the armed forces of the USA General John Khayten. According to him, Russia already has a laser system for use in space and other technologies that threaten American satellites. “MK” tried to figure out whether we have laser weapons and how these plants could threaten U.S. satellite systems.
In his lecture at Stanford University, John Khayten said that Russia possesses technologies for the destruction of satellites from the 1980s, and since then its capabilities have increased significantly. The General said that the United States needs to prevent bad behavior in space and possible conflict.
According to military expert Viktor Murakhovski, the American General is likely to have in mind the project laser complex air-launched, which began to be created in the USSR in the mid 70’s. In the early 80 s on the basis of the Il 76 was created a plane 60, which was an experimental flying laboratory vehicle megawatt laser. It was planned to eliminate space as a combat weapon orbital platform “SKIF DM”. Primarily, this program was aimed at the study of the propagation of laser rays in the upper atmosphere, and further suppression of enemy intelligence. Scientific research on the destruction of the satellites in the framework of the project “SKIF-DM” may have carried out, but practical results has not been seen. In the early 90s, the program was closed. We resumed the project of airborne laser in the mid-2000s, called “Falcon-Echelon”. This program is classified, and information about it.
“Talking about the laser as the weapon is still too early. Rather, it can be used as one of the elements of armament,” — said murakhovski. According to him, now lasers are used as rangefinders, as well as illumination for precision guidance of weapons. This idea is implemented in some systems, in particular to managed artillery projectile “Krasnopol”. Perhaps, the development of laser systems that can shoot down ballistic missiles or destroy satellites in low orbits, but it is a very distant prospect.
Of course, the idea of using laser as a means of destruction died. However, its implementation requires a lot of time and even more money. One of the major issues is where to take those giant energy capacity required to use combat laser. The second problem is the limited application of the laser, because the beam is dispersed in bad weather: fog, rain and snow.
The same program “Falcon Echelon”, according to some, the main goal is to counteract high-precision weapons. For example, the missile “air–air” can be derailed simply by pointing the laser at the infrared guidance head.
Of course, laser weapons are now a very promising direction for use as a means of missile defense. And here the Russian “defense industry” a very good start, remaining since Soviet times. According to Murakhovsky, Russia in this matter now is in the leading position, but to threaten American satellites she’s not there yet.
“Most likely John Khayten his fiery speech trying to get the next tranche of American taxpayers, and in the form of the Scarecrow here is the mythical Russian laser program. It sounds menacing and it is not clear, so the money most likely to”, — concluded the expert.