U.S. Has Plans For Space War, Says Air Force

Posted on Saturday, February 21 at 08:46 by Anonymous
Space has become an increasingly important part of U.S. military efforts. Satellites are used more and more to talk to troops, keep tabs on foes and guide smart bombs. There's also long been recognition that satellites may need some sort of protection against attack.

But the Air Force report goes far beyond these defensive capabilities, calling for weapons that can cripple other countries' orbiters.

That prospect worries some analysts, who fear the U.S. may spark a worldwide arms race in orbit.

"I don't think other countries will be taking this lying down," said Theresa Hitchens, the vice president of the Center for Defense Information. The space weapons programs listed in the Air Force report went largely unnoticed until Hitchens circulated them in an e-mail Thursday. "This will certainly prompt China into actually moving forward" on space weapon plans of its own, she added. "The Russians are likely to respond with something as well."

My Wired News article has details on the Air Force's space war plans.

THERE'S MORE: Quicker, cheaper ways to get into orbit -- that's also a key component of the Air Force report. Right now, space launches have to be planned months in advance. But the Air Force wants to orbiters to be able to take off "on demand" -- just like planes do today.

Another goal is a hypersonic missile, launched from the United States, that can strike almost anywhere in the world. That's something Defense Tech discussed in detail here.

AND MORE: Gen. Lance Lord, who heads Air Force Space Command, told Inside the Air Force that he's focusing on "reversible effects" in space -- weapons that can "temporarily degrade enemy capability, but do not permanently damage their space systems," according to the journal. "However, he did not rule out pursuing more damaging counterspace capabilities for use when it is in the interest of national security."

Posted by noahmax at February 20, 2004 10:29 AM

Note: U.S. Air Force Transfor... Wired News article

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