13 May 2010
Russian Generals Want Their Space Weapons, Too
By Nathan Hodge
Weeks after the Air Force launched the X-37B reusable space plane on a classified mission and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency launched a hypersonic glider over the Pacific, the Russians are looking at their own inventory of space weaponry — and are worrying of a serious lag behind the United States.
Russian news agency RIA-Novosti reports today that a group of retired Russian generals has called for an upgrade to the country’s space defenses, saying that the Russian defense industry has fallen dangerously behind and that the country has a limited capability to counter possible threats from space.
“Frankly, our space defense capabilities are limited and insufficient to ensure our national security,” the agency quoted former Russian air force commander Anatoly Kornukov at a roundtable on the future of Russia’s air and space defenses.
Anatoly Sitnov, the former head of procurement for Russia’s armed forces, had a better (and more eeeevil!) quote. “Who owns space, owns the world,” he said. “When we tried to test laser weapons in space, we were told that the militarization of outer space must not occur and we stopped, but the United States has started and continues to test these weapons even today.”
Fair enough. The U.S. Department of Defense has been at work on the Space Posture Review, a congressionally mandated document that was initially supposed to accompany the Quadrennial Defense Review, the Pentagon’s strategic statement of purpose. That review, however, has been delayed amid internal deliberations about national space policy.
And that means many issues on space weaponry are still undecided. John Bennett of Defense News quotes Marine Gen. James Cartwright, Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, as saying the administration was still engaged in a “rich debate” about space policy.
“It has been the hardest of the reviews,” Bennett quoted Cartwright as saying.
But don’t worry too much, Russians: The X-37B (pictured here) may be
circling overhead, but Darpa is still trying to figure out
why its hypersonic glider went AWOL during the recent test flight.