President Donald Trump’s promise to be “far worse than anybody, if need be” by developing space weapon tech “faster than the rest of the world” will spark a new arms race without ensuring US safety, says leading Russian expert.
“The militarization of space is inevitable, and the United States will quit any relevant non-proliferation treaty that stands in the way,” Mikhail Khodarenok, military expert and retired colonel who served in Russian missile defense forces, told RT.
On Thursday, the US president presented a personally-commissioned 108-page Pentagon report on missile defense that has been two years in the making. Trump promised the creation of a “space-based missile defense layer,” saying the “new and advanced tech” would replace “incremental progress.”
Khodarenok believes that these are not empty claims, but a “matter of the near future.”
“There are no missile defense systems capable of firing in space right now, but there is reason to believe they will appear imminently. Their role will not just be to provide missile defense, but also to offer cover to America’s orbital fleet,” he said.
But Khodarenok is less sure that despite the likely cosmic expense, the innovations, which could vary from ground-based interceptors in Alaska, to “space sensors” to “directed-energy weapons” in orbit, will decisively alter the strategic balance.
“If a block of maneuvering ICBMs on a descent trajectory, or hypersonic gliders such as Russia’s Avangard, are deployed against US missile defense,” said Khodarenok, “its effectiveness will be reduced, and in some cases may be close to zero.”
Khodarenok noted that the new technologies may offer the United States protection against purported rogue states, such as Iran and North Korea. Both are mentioned in the report. For him, questions remain over the capability of even the already-built state-of-the-art defensive systems such as THAAD and AEGIS, which remain untested in field conditions, not to mention the ones that still only exist on paper.
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