Fri. May 24th, 2024

Pentagon official warns Russian anti-satellite nuclear weapon could be devastating

By 37ci3 May2,2024

Russia is developing an “indiscriminate” anti-satellite nuclear device that could threaten all satellites operated by countries and companies around the world, a senior Defense Department official told lawmakers on Wednesday.

“The concept that worries us is Russia developing and — if we can’t convince them otherwise — nuclear weapons in space, which will not distinguish between military, civilian or commercial satellites.” Plumb, assistant secretary of defense for space policy, told a House Armed Services subcommittee hearing.

He said the threat was not “imminent” but that the Pentagon and “the entire” Biden administration were concerned about the program.

Asked about the potential impact of such a weapon, Plumb said low-Earth orbit — the most common orbit for satellites — would be rendered useless by radiation from a nuclear explosion for up to a year.

Depending on the size of the nuclear explosion, it is difficult to predict the exact effects of such a weapon, Plumb said. But he said a rough estimate would “suggest satellites that are not hardened against a nuclear blast.” [in] Space, most of which are satellites, could be damaged and affected, and some could explode immediately.”

Plumb’s comments mark the first time the Biden administration has discussed Russia’s potential anti-satellite capability in public congressional hearings.

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Turner, R-Ohio, asked Plumb about the Russian program. Turner raised first He raised the issue in February in a cryptic public statement asking the White House to declassify information about an unnamed “serious national security threat.”

In a written statement to lawmakers, Plumb said Russia’s developing capability could “threaten all satellites operated by countries and companies around the world, as well as vital communications, scientific, meteorological, agricultural, commercial and national security services.” we all depend on each other.”

On Tuesday, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin told another House hearing that a nuclear explosion in space would have “devastating consequences for many of our capabilities in space — not just our capabilities, but the capabilities of other countries,” without referring to the specific Russian-made weapon.

Austin added: “We believe it is irresponsible for anyone to consider deploying or using a nuclear device in space.”

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By 37ci3

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