I have to take issue with DT colleague John Noonan's post at the Weekly Standard blog today on the story (revelation?) that the Russians are reluctantly working on anti-satellite weapons to counter U.S. missile defense initiatives and other perceived ills.
John says essentially "what's the news here?" The Sovs had been working on this technology for decades and that "they've been there all along"...
Well, my thoughts on this are: prove it!
Though Noonan reminds us of the Soviet-era investments in anti-sat weapons, my question is what have they been doing since then? I go back to the paranoid bomber boogieman story that "oh no, the Russians are coming because they're flying Bear bombers (propeller driven, hello!?) along the Alaska border"...
Can someone please tell me how many flight hours on average a Russian bomber crew gets per month -- or per year? So, tell me, if they're still flying the same bombers for a few hours a year that they were during the Cold War (I know, I know -- we're still flying the B-52, but it's a very different bomber in its guts than it was in 1960) then tell me how the Russians can pose any kind of threat to satellites in space?
It's typical of an Associated Press reporter who knows little about military technology to excite his editors with some unrealistic threats from an obscure former space forces commander:
Russia already has some "basic, key elements" of such weapons, he said without elaboration.
Popovkin, who previously was the chief of Russian military Space Forces, reportedly made the statement at a news conference in response to a question about U.S. and Chinese tests of anti-satellite weapons.
Huh? Basic key elements? Like the Mir? Oh yeah, that went down in flames a few years ago...And didn't we just shoot down a satellite with a missile launched from a ship about a year ago? I'd say Popovkin in dreaming.