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French Military to Develop Anti-Satellite Laser Weapons

By | July 29, 2019

Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis meets with Florence Parly, France’s minister of defense, at the Pentagon in Washington, D.C., Oct. 20, 2017. (DOD photo by U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Jette Carr)

France is accelerating plans to militarize its satellite technology, French Minister of Armed Forces Florence Parly said during a July 25 presentation of the European nation’s new space strategy. Parly’s plans include the development of anti-satellite laser weapons that would, “only be used in self-defense.”

“If our satellites are threatened, we intend to blind those of our adversaries,” said Parly. “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 … We will develop powerful lasers. It’s an area in which France has fallen behind. But we will catch up.”

These comments follow a July 13 announcement by French President Emmanuel Macron that confirmed his intention of creating a French “Space Force” command.

The United States, Russia and China have developed weapons capable of destroying enemy satellites. In March, India joined the list of space-faring nations capable of warfare when it destroyed a satellite with a missile. The Indian government was criticized by the commercial satellite industry for creating new and dangerous space debris as a result of the test.