French Minister of Defence Florence Parly presents the country’s new defence space strategy (AFP) France has a plan to arm its satellites with lasers and machine guns by 2032. These spacecraft would use precision cameras to detect hostile satellites and spray them with a shower of space bullets, destroying their solar panels. Meanwhile, the high-power lasers could be used to block enemy telecommunications.
The plan, which sounds like it came straight from a James Bond film, was officially announced by France’s defence minister Florence Parly. She explained that the satellites would always be used for defence and never for attack. French Air Force General Philippe Lavigne standing next to a model of a French satellite – potentially one that’ll get fitted with lasers and machine guns (AFP) She cited recent efforts by the Russians to spy on France’s hardware as a need to develop the gun-toting satellites. ‘If our satellites are threatened, we intend to blind those of our adversaries,’ Parly said. ‘We reserve the right and the means to be able to respond: That could imply the use of powerful lasers deployed from our satellites or from patrolling nano-satellites.’
The comments, made at the Lyon-Mont Verdun air base, come after French president Emmanuel Macron announced the creation of a ‘space command’ that would be part of the country’s Air Force. ‘Active defense is not an offensive strategy; it’s self-defense,’ Parly said, according to Le Point. ‘It is, when a hostile act has been identified as such, acceptable within the confines of international law to be able to respond in an appropriate and proportionate manner. The law does not exempt self-defense, does not prohibit militarization, nor does it prevent weaponization.’
The French military say they’ll be able to shoot down enemy satellites by targeting the solar panels (Shutterstock) It follows Donald Trump’s plan to user in a new military space force that will form the sixth branch of the US military by 2020. Building the new weaponised satellites is estimated to add $780 million to France’s existing $4 billion for its 2019-2025 military program. Share this article via facebookShare this article via twitterShare this article via messenger