Pentagon Prepared to Unveil & Demonstrate Highly Classified Space Weapon, Report Says
© Photo : Public DomainAir Force Boeing KC-135 "Stratotanker" During Exercise Point Blank over the English Channel, Nov. 27, 2018
© Photo : Public Domain
A new arms race has boosted the dispute over space weapons, with talks periodically raised about a need to extend control over weapons in orbit. Despite numerous calls to demilitarize space, leading countries continue to accuse each other of developing potentially offensive technology.
The US department of Defense is, in the near future, expected to announce and demonstrate secret space weapons to show Russia and China new anti-satellite developments, Breaking Defense reported, citing unnamed officials.
The presentation of the weapon was said to be first planned at the National Space Symposium scheduled for August. The declassification had been prepared over the past months, but the situation around the withdrawal of the American military from Afghanistan has reportedly resulted in adjustments to the original plan as “all arms of the national security apparatus pointed towards Kabul.”
Only senior US government officials have access to information on “sensitive” classified technology and its exposure requires approval from the director of National Intelligence, Avril Haines, and the president as well.
According to the publication, the US planned to carry out a real demonstration of a secret weapon reportedly able to destroy or disable a satellite or spacecraft.
Experts suggested that the unnamed system could involve various devices, from a “terrestrially-based mobile laser used for blinding adversary reconnaissance sats to on-board, proximity triggered radio-frequency jammers on certain military satellites, to a high-powered microwave system that can zap electronics carried on maneuverable bodyguard satellites.”
Some sources, however, doubted that the weapon involves “a ground-based kinetic interceptor.”
Most high-ranking officials were said to back the declassification of high-end systems, citing the need to demonstrate power and “the growing threat of foreign counterspace to lawmakers, the public and allied/partner nations.”
© US Space ForceAn image taken from the June 2020 Defense Space Strategy Summary that appears to depict a space-based kinetic energy weapon similar to the abandoned Project Thor. The image is uncaptioned in the document.
An image taken from the June 2020 Defense Space Strategy Summary that appears to depict a space-based kinetic energy weapon similar to the abandoned Project Thor. The image is uncaptioned in the document.
According to the deputy chief of the Joint Chiefs of Staff of the US Armed Forces, General John Hyten, “deterrence does not happen in the classified world. Deterrence does not happen in the black; deterrence happens in the white.”
Opponents of declassification stress that officials should have “conceived of the capability with the idea that they would reveal it. We need to design things that can be that can be revealed without eliminating their effectiveness, and without causing escalation,” a source said.
The newly-developed space technologies, amid growing uncertainty over nuclear weapons, have raised concern as some recall the 20th century's Cold War era 'Star Wars' orbital weapons failure. Over recent years, some countries, including the US, China and Russia, have been strenuously developing space programs, with regular mutual allegations that the innovative technologies contribute to space militarization.