Russia on Wednesday spoke of its new generation of laser weapons, including the first mobile laser system announced by President Vladimir Putin in 2018. Moscow said it had advanced so far that it could destroy blind orbiting satellites and drones.
In 2018, Putin unveiled several new weapons, including a new intercontinental ballistic missile, a small nuclear warhead that could be attached to a cruise missile, an underwater nuclear drone, a supersonic weapon and a laser weapon.
Little is known about the exact name of the laser weapon Peresvet, named after the medieval Orthodox warrior Alexander Peresvet, who was killed in a mortal battle. Putin gave some specific information in 2018 and the details of the laser are confidential.
Deputy Prime Minister Yuri Borisov, who is in charge of military development, told a conference in Moscow that Peresvet was already being heavily deployed and could blind satellites up to 1,500 kilometers above the earth.
He was quoted as saying in a test on Tuesday that he had burned a drone five kilometers away in five seconds. Reuters could not independently confirm the test.
“It is already being heavily supplied to (missile) troops, and it could blind all potential enemy retrieval systems in orbit up to 1,500 kilometers into orbit, disabling them during flight due to the use of laser radiation,” Borisov said.
“But let’s say, in some way today, or even yesterday: our physicists have now created, and virtually mass-produced, laser systems that are more powerful by order of magnitude that can destroy heat in different instruments,” says Borisov.
Borisov’s remarks indicate that Russia has made significant progress with Peresvet, and others may still be undeclared successors, a trend of considerable interest for other nuclear powers such as the United States and China.
His remarks suggest that Russia could blind an array of satellites and other systems used by the United States to monitor Russian intercontinental ballistic missiles – or drones used to target artillery positions in the Ukraine war.
Borisov said he had just returned from Serv, a closed town in the Nizhny Novgorod region that was once known as Arzamas-16 because it was highly secretive, a center for Russian nuclear weapons research.
“Today, so-called weapons systems based on new physical principles are on the way,” Borisov said.
“It’s primarily a laser weapon, an electromagnetic wideband weapon that will replace (conventional weapons) in the next decade – it’s not some kind of external concept; it’s a reality,” Borisov said.