Putin's puppet outlines Russia plot to arm hypersonic missiles
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The news comes as Russian state television continues to produce material mocking Western nations and suggesting nuclear missiles could turn London and New York into a wasteland. With tension rising following the invasion of Ukraine, Putin has boosted his hypersonic, multiple-warhead carrying SATAN 2 missile will be ready for deployment by the end of the year. Speaking exclusively to Express.co.uk, one academic has evaluated where Putin’s missile programme stands, and how defences can be built to combat the risk.
Greg Autry is a Clinical Professor of Space Leadership, Policy, and Business, and currently a Visiting Professor, Security Science and Technology Institute, Imperial College London.
Discussing the ongoing Russian media frenzy over the use of such weapons, Dr Autry, a former NASA official, said: “It was frightening to see Putin do his brag show on WMDs.
“Not just because of the technology but the entire megalomaniacal presentation was right out of a James Bond villain’s monologue.
“The idea of automated Russian hypersonic and torpedoes carrying nukes is doubly scary because frankly, their equipment has performed so badly in space recently, where Progress, Soyuz and ISS modules have suffered alarming failure rates.
“It’s an arsenal of accidents waiting to happen and as much of a threat to the Russian people as to their supposed ‘enemies’.
“Obviously the US, UK and other Western nations must be accelerating their defensive programmes in response to this.”
With the missiles sporting ballistic and hypersonic capability, Professor Autry discussed the notion of reintroducing a Cold War-era “Star Wars” defence programme against both Russian and other types of missiles.
He also discussed how technology has moved on from the Regan-era Star Wars Programme.
Dr Autry stated: “I do believe the US should and will revive some concepts very similar to “Brilliant Pebbles” to protect our people, assets and allies from Russian and Chinese aggression.
“In the 1980s the physics of the programme made sense but the supporting technology and space launch capabilities weren’t there to support it.
“In particular, the computing power and software were not up to the task.
“40 years later we have the processing power and AI software required for the task and we have a plethora of new launch systems and massive launch capacity.
“We could deploy the system that Ronald Reagan’s team envisioned and once again dissuade Russian aggression.
“More importantly it would send a clear message to Xi Jinping, whose regime presents a more credible threat to Western Democracy than Russia’s dying Oligarchy.”
The esteemed academic went on to discuss the history of space defence.
He said: “Firstly it is important to note that from day one of the space age, when Germany launched a V2 rocket out of the atmosphere on 3 October 1942, we were in a ‘space defence race’.
“Since that time, the US, Russia, China other space powers have used space as a military domain for communications, observation and PNT systems.
“US, Russia, China and India have all demonstrated their ability to field ASAT systems against these capabilities as well.
“The Russians even put a cannon on an early human space station and test fired it.
“They designed but did not deploy interceptor missiles for their later stations.”
Speaking of the legal obligations, Professor Autry ended: “The primary legal limitation of any space system is that Article IV of the 1967 Outer Space Treaty, which the US, Russia, China and most nations have signed prohibits them from orbiting ‘nuclear weapons or any other kinds of weapons of mass destruction.
“This is obviously a good thing IF the participants are inclined to follow treaties.
“It is concerning in this case that China’s history with the HK treaty, WTO agreement, US Phase One Trade Agreement and many others show that Xi Jinping generally regards treaties and signed agreements as one-way products that only apply to the other signatory and do not bind China.
“Russia has blatantly violated the INF as well.
“It is also likely that Russia and China will portray Western defensive systems as ‘WMDs’ and claim they violate article IV.”
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Britain has also spoken of the importance of space defence.
Referring to Britain’s launch of Prometheus Satellites, British Defence Minister Jeremy Quin had said: “Space technology is crucial for developing defence capabilities, and the launch of Prometheus-2 represents another important step forward for our homegrown space programme.”
Cooperation between Russia and the West in space technology has fallen into stagnation since the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
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Russia has vowed to end its cooperation with the International Space Station, and the Roscosmos boss in February asked “who will save the ISS from an uncontrolled deorbit and fall onto the United States… or Europe.”
His anger came following tough economic sanctions posed on Moscow following the invasion.
The US continues to work on conventional anti-hypersonic missile defences, with Lockheed Martin secured a recent contract to build the technology.
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