France plots ‘satellites armed with lasers and machine guns’ – and wants to build swarms of tiny space robots too


FRANCE has promised to arm its spy satellites with “machine guns” by 2023.

The orbiting probes would use high-tech cameras to identify enemy satellites before spraying them with bullets in space.

France’s armed satellites

As well as machine guns, they would carry powerful lasers that could block hostile space tech from communicating with Earth.

And if all else fails, swarms of mini-satellites could be sent up to bolster France’s defence of its space assets.

The ambitious space plans were announced by France’s Defence Minister Florence Parly.

Parly said France was not being sucked into an arms race, and that the Sci-Fi tech would focus on defence, rather than attack.

AFP or licensors

France is arming its next generation of space satellites (model pictured) with lasers and machine guns[/caption]

“If we want to be able to carry out real military operations in space, then we need to develop the ability to act alone,” Parly said, speaking at the Lyon-Mont Verdun air base last Thursday.

France’s plans involve first arming its current generation of spy satellites with cameras.

These can be used to detect enemy satellites if they try to get too close and intercept communications.

The next generation will be armed with lasers that can jam hostile communications, according to Parly.

“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.”

In the minister’s announcement, there was also talk of “machine guns capable of breaking solar panels” on enemy satellites.

If that wasn’t enough, Parly said swarms of nano-satellites could be sent up at a moment’s notice to support France’s space assets if they are attacked.

AFP or licensors

The announcement was made last week by France’s Defence Minister Florence Parly[/caption]

These satellites would be armed with cameras and deployed within minutes of an attack. It’s possible they will also be armed with lasers and guns.

Parly described the mini-satellites that will patrol space from 2023 as “fearsome little detectors that will be the eyes of our most valuable satellites”.

Space and aeronautics company Thales had ambitions in the field, she said.

The minister’s comments follow the creation of a new French “space command” announced earlier this month by France’s president, Emmanuel Macron.

AFP or licensors

Parly said swarms of nano-satellites could be sent up to support France’s space assets if they are attacked[/caption]

The space command, Parly said, would fall under the air force’s control.

With space fast becoming one of the greatest challenges to national security, the government would draw up new legislation to hand oversight of all French activities in space to the defence ministry.

President Emmanuel Macron’s desire to create a space command, which Parly announced will go live on September 1, followed U.S. President Donald Trump’s plan to usher in a new space force that will form the sixth branch of the U.S. military by 2020.

Terrifying space weapons of the future

Here are three of the scariest…

Rods from God

  • A strange but utterly terrifying weapon has been dubbed “rods from the God” and is based on the concept of creating man-made meteorites that can be guided towards the enemy.
  • Instead of using rocks rods the size of telephone poles are deployed.
  • These would be made out of tungsten — a rare metal that can stand the intense heat generated by entering Earth’s atmosphere.
  • One satellite fires the rods towards the Earth’s atmosphere while the other steers them to a target on the ground.
  • Reaching speeds of 7000mph they hit the ground with the force of a small nuclear weapon — but crucially creating no radiation fall out.
  • As bizarre as it sounds, a US Congressional report recently revealed the military has been pushing ahead with the kinetic space weapons.

Molten metal cannons

  • This intriguing idea is being developed by the US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA).
  • It is called the Magneto Hydrodynamic Explosive Munition or MAHEM.
  • This game changing rail-gun can fire a jet of molten metal, hurled through space at several hundred miles per second by the most powerful electromagnets ever built.
  • The molten metal can then morph into an aerodynamic slug during flight and pierce through another spacecraft or satellite and a munition explodes inside.

Space force ships

  • Already the United States is powering head with its spacecraft, although China is busy developing one of their own.
  • The top secret American XS-1 under development by DARPA.
  • It can travel ten times the speed of sound and launch missiles.
  • Meanwhile an unmanned craft is currently being developed in the China Aerodynamics Research and Development Centre in Mianyang, Sichuan province, which is also known as Base 29.

She called on France’s European partners to work together on space surveillance. “In particular I count on Germany to be at the heart of space surveillance.”

French convictions of the need to strengthen defence capacities in space were strengthened when a Russian satellite last year attempted to intercept transmissions from a Franco-Italian satellite used by both countries’ armies for secure communications in what it called an “act of espionage”.

Oversight of French activities in space currently lies with the French Space Agency (CNES).

In other news, the USA’s secretive X37B space plane was photographed in orbit by an amateur skywatcher earlier this month.

The US military wants £225million to start testing satellite-mounted lasers and “particle beams” for space defence.

Scientists recently determined that a strange space object called Oumuamua is probably not an alien probe sent to spy on Earth.

Are you worried about a space war? Let us know in the comments!

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