According to CEO of Russia’s Almaz-Antei advanced arms makers Dr Vladislav Menshikov, his company continues work, started decades ago in the Soviet Union, to develop powerful airborne lasers capable of shooting down hostile aircraft and incoming missiles. Sources say a weapon of this kind can destroy targets travelling at altitudes of up to 40 kilometers.
Chief Editor of the Natsionalnaya Oborona (National Defence) journal Dr Igor Korothcenko is ‘moderately skeptical’:
“Laser weapons will catch on, but not before 30 to 40 years from now. The problem is that developing them is exorbitantly costly. In the near future, guided missiles will be doing the air defence job. In the meantime, Russia has made considerable progress in laser weapon development. Its work in this field is focused on powerful airborne laser guns.”
Laser weapon R and D in the US is on hold, but is likely to be reactivated, as the Americans build missile defence systems and consider plans to take weapons to orbit. Russia is doing everything in its power to avert a costly arms race in space.