Russia is building a laser weapon in order to ‘soft kill’ the US spy satellites. The disclosure of Russia’s advanced laser weapon coincides with the announcement of Elon Musk, CEO of Space X, who said that his business could deploy more satellites than Western rivals could destroy.
A new anti-satellite missile being developed by Russia could soon prevent Western espionage satellites from passing over its territory.
According to a recent report from The Space Review, there is “strong evidence that a space surveillance complex in Russia’s northern Caucasus is being outfitted with a new laser system called Kalina that will target optical systems of foreign imaging satellites flying over Russian territory.”
The Kalina project’s development started in 2011. Kalina’s declared goal was to use strong laser pulses to “create a system for the functional suppression of electro-optical systems of satellites” according to a financial report from 2014.
Another document from 2017 referred to Kalina as a “laser system for electro-optical warfare” and stated that the Rosatom state corporation was developing it as a unique quantum-optical system.
In contrast to previous laser weapons termed as “dazzlers,” which can momentarily blind optical systems, Kalina can permanently blind optical sensors on satellites.
Instead of releasing an anti-satellite missile, as it carelessly did in November 2021, knocking a decrepit satellite out of orbit and creating 1,500 pieces of space trash in the process, Russia wants to target satellites using a so-called “soft kill” approach.
“The project has suffered numerous delays, but recent Google Earth imagery shows that construction is now well underway,” according to the report.
The disclosure of Russia’s advanced laser weapon coincides with Elon Musk, CEO of Space X, who said that his business could deploy more satellites than Western rivals could destroy. By using inexpensive light beams rather than expensive missiles, the Kalina project may soon threaten Musk’s satellite constellation, making it less expensive and more convenient for Moscow to take down future satellites.