The French military wants to develop satellites armed with lasers and submachine guns

Military Tech

This artist's concept shows how the Optical Payload for Lasercomm Science (OPALS) laser will beam data to Earth from the International Space Station

(NASA illustration)

With risks to satellites ranging from espionage attempts and jamming to cyber-attacks and anti-satellite weapons, space has simply become another frontier to defend — as well as dramatic repercussions for of our ability to communicate, share data, and carry out transactions, it could seriously compromise national security.

That is why France's minister of defense, Florence Parly, recently announced the launch of a space self-defense and surveillance program with a view to developing patrol nano-satellites and power lasers, according to Le Point.


The project will add another $780 million to France's existing $4 billion for its 2019-2025 military program.

The minister's statements expand on President Emmanuel Macron's statement on July 13, that France would be creating a space force within its air force before September.

The minister said that this "fantastic space directive" will initially consist of 220 people in Toulouse, the hub of France's space work.

With this in mind, Parly announced an amendment to a French law on Space Operations so that the Ministry of Armed Forces would be able to explore initiatives in space, with the supervision of the National Centre for Space Study (CNES).

With regards to patrol nano-satellites, Parly said she wanted France to be able to be equipped by 2023.

"If our satellites are threatened, we will consider blinding those of our opponents," said Parly. "This may involve the use of power lasers deployed from our satellites or from our patrol nano-satellites."

In the minister's announcement, there was also talk of "submachine guns capable of breaking solar panels" on hostile satellites.

"Active defense is not an offensive strategy; it's self-defense," Parly said. "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."

Making reference to the Russian attempt to intercept secure communications on Franco-Italian military satellite, Athena-Fidus, in 2017, Parly also announced that France plans to strengthen its space surveillance capabilities in order to be able to better identify hostile maneuvers.

This could take the form of the development of a telescope network, the use of a geotracker network, the exploration of "satellite imaging radar capabilities", equipping satellites with cameras, or testing a very long-range radar detector.

As part of the new program, Parly also alluded to a "space campus" and a "space academy" for promoting space careers.

Last year, the Minister stressed that France needed to prepare for the risk of "major confrontations" in space by increasing its investments in the field, shortly after U.S. President Donald Trump had ordered the establishment of a special space force.

Read more from Business Insider:

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper said on Friday that no U.S. troops will take part in enforcing the so-called safe zone in northern Syria and the United States "is continuing our deliberate withdrawal from northeastern Syria."

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan earlier on Friday said Turkey will set up a dozen observation posts across northeast Syria, insisting that a planned "safe zone" will extend much further than U.S. officials said was covered under a fragile ceasefire deal.

Read More Show Less

On Tuesday at the Association of the U.S. Army's annual conference, Army families had the opportunity to tell senior leaders exactly what was going on in their worlds — an opportunity that is, unfortunately, all too rare.

Read More Show Less

The fog of war, just kills, and war crimes are the focus of a new documentary series coming to STARZ. Titled Leavenworth, the five-part series profiles 1st Lt. Clint Lorance, the Army infantry officer who was convicted on murder charges for ordering his soldiers to fire on three unarmed Afghan men on a motorcycle, killing two and wounding the third, while deployed to the Zhari district in Kandahar province, on July 2, 2012.

Read More Show Less

A big stereotype surrounding U.S. service members and veterans is that they are defined only by their military service, from buying "Dysfunctional Veteran" t-shirts to playing hard-boiled, high-octane first-person shooters like Battlefield and Call of Duty (we honestly have no idea where anyone could get that impression).

But the folks at OSD (formerly called Operation Supply Drop), a non-profit veteran service organization that aims to help troops and vets connect with each other through free video games, service programs and other activities, recently found that most of the gamers they've served actually prefer less military-centric fare like sports games and fantasy RPGs.

Read More Show Less

CEYLANPINAR, Turkey (Reuters) - Shelling could be heard at the Syrian-Turkish border on Friday morning despite a five-day ceasefire agreed between Turkey and the United States, and Washington said the deal covered only a small part of the territory Ankara aims to seize.

Reuters journalists at the border heard machine-gun fire and shelling and saw smoke rising from the Syrian border battlefield city of Ras al Ain, although the sounds of fighting had subsided by mid-morning.

The truce, announced on Thursday by U.S. Vice President Mike Pence after talks in Ankara with Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan, sets out a five-day pause to let the Kurdish-led SDF militia withdraw from an area controlled by Turkish forces.

The SDF said air and artillery attacks continued to target its positions and civilian targets in Ral al Ain.

"Turkey is violating the ceasefire agreement by continuing to attack the town since last night," SDF spokesman Mustafa Bali tweeted.

The Kurdish-led administration in the area said Turkish truce violations in Ras al Ain had caused casualties, without giving details.

Read More Show Less