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The defence sector is forever changing and Russia’s new Peresvet laser weapon gives a terrifying glimpse into the future. Russia announced the launch amidst some controversy after the US threatened to withdraw from an arms treaty between the two military powerhouses. Could this be a coincidence? Many people think not. Chances are that it probably fits perfectly with Russia’s plans as tensions between the two countries have increased in recent times.
President Vladimir Putin already promised to deploy several high-tech weapons in the near future when he made his annual address to Russia’s Federal Assembly in March 2018. He wants the West to know that Russia is developing new weapons and should be considered a real force if a New Cold War erupts.
During his State of the Nation Address on March 1, Russian President Vladimir Putin asked for suggestions in naming the laser weapon. After some discussion, it was named “Peresvet” after a medieval warrior monk, Alexander Peresvet.
INF Treaty Controversy
All this talk is a result of rising tensions surrounding the Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces (INF Treaty). The Treaty essentially bans the deployment of new intermediate-range nuclear weapons with a range of 310 to 3,400 miles (500 km and 5,500 km). These high-powered missiles could pose a real threat to Russia if placed in any nearby European countries such as Poland and Romania.
Mike Pompeo, US Secretary of State warned Russia that they have 60 days to comply with the INF treaty and if they don’t abide by the agreement, the US could produce, test and deploy new missiles. In response, Russia warned the US that if the treaty is destroyed, they will retaliate against European countries where the missiles are deployed.
Laser Weapon Technology
While the threat of a new Cold War may be looming, fears are that Russia is a few steps ahead. The truck-mounted laser weapon system is no longer a concept or a pipe-dream, it is in active duty. Fact is, Russian troops have been equipped with laser weapons since 2017. They’ve all received advanced training to deploy and fully operate the combat system.
The Russians are keeping their cards close though as there are very few details about the new laser weapon. It does appear to be an air defence system that can track and shoot down enemy aircraft and missiles ‘within fractions of a second’. Some reports suggest that it will also be able to “blind” electronic systems, making them inoperable and vulnerable to attack.
According to President Putin, “We have achieved significant progress in laser weapons. It is not just a concept or a plan any more. It is not even in the early production stages. Since last year, our troops have been armed with laser weapons. I do not want to reveal more details. It is not the time yet. But experts will understand that with such weaponry, Russia’s defense capacity has multiplied.”
Global Combat Systems
Adding to Russia’s arsenal, Putin unveiled the long-awaited, nuclear-capable RS-28 Sarmat heavy intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM). The Western military alliance, NATO, refers to it as “SS-X-30 Satan 2”. Furthermore, Russia has also developed the Kinzal hypersonic missile, a nuclear-powered cruise missile and a nuclear torpedo. Putin claims that even America’s most advanced defense systems will be of little use against Russia’s latest weapons.
Russia is not the only country with laser weapons. China unveiled their LW-30, a vehicle-based laser weapon at the 2018 Zhuhai Air Show. It was built to quickly destroy a wide variety of aerial targets while remaining relatively mobile. On the other side of the world, America’s Missile Defense Agency has started developing their own laser weapon. This high-tech anti-missile drone will be developed with the $9.9 billion budget the agency requested as part of President Donald Trump’s 2019 budget. The US Navy is also looking to upgrade their existing $40 million Laser Weapons System. They will potentially install it on the San Antonio-class amphibious transport dock ship, the USS Portland.
As if trade wars and nuclear weapons aren’t big enough threats already, what impact will laser weapons have? Who will win the arms-race? Please share your comments below or find us on social media. Our readers would love to hear your thoughts.
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