Space Force Offering Europe Protection from Anti-Satellite Attacks

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Chief of space operations Gen. Chance Saltzman expressed his support for defending European allied satellites against attacks and even warned that any destruction of a friendly satellite will be considered an act of war.

According to Breaking Defense, since Russia invaded Ukraine, satellite defense has become much more of an urgent issue for both the US and European partners. Moscow has carried out non-destructive cyberattacks on Viasat’s KA-SAT and SpaceX’s Starlink networks, in which “tens of thousands of modems” were forced offline by Russia, as reported by Reuters in May 2022. Russia, China, and India have all tested ground-launched anti-satellite missiles.

“The destruction of a satellite may not have that same public effect as a missile attack into a civilian population, but from a military standpoint, you’ve still definitely created an act of war,” said Saltzman.

He also explained that the US Space Force has a strategy of “competitive endurance” that is based on avoiding “operational surprise” by having sufficient capabilities to react to irresponsible or threatening actions in space.

Fundamentally, stopping space-based targeting would prevent adversaries from increasing weapon ranges and deprive them the accuracy of the weapons themselves, according to Saltzman.

Saltzman mentioned possible collaboration between Space Force and European partners revolving around equipment, training and policy, and added that such collaboration is much “less complicated” to plan and discuss compared to joint procurements.

The US currently operates an early warning system that is capable of detecting ballistic missiles in space, and is based at RAF Fylingdales in North Yorkshire, England.

Lastly, Space Force has laid out plans to add to US European Command based at Ramstein Air Base, Germany, and begin “24/7” space operations in August from a US space defense center at NATO’s Allied Air Command.

This information was provided by Breaking Defense.