Pentagon to Study Space Weapons
The Pentagon is exploring space weapons for protection. Pictured: The Pentagon building, located in Arlington County, Virginia, across the Potomac River from Washington, D.C. Michael Brochstein/Getty Images

The Pentagon is looking for ways to beef up its military arsenal, specifically with space weapons. The U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) will reportedly study the development of space weapons such as orbiting missiles, space laser weapons, ray guns and particle beams.

Space Weapons

A senior administration official recently briefed reporters of the Missile Defense Review about the department's initiative to study weapons that can intercept enemy missiles right off the launch pad. However, reports also indicated that the Pentagon will not proceed to develop the weapons for now.

The official explained that the study would be part of the Trump administration’s effort to investigate additional scopes to defend against. It can be noted that a lot has changed since the last time the Pentagon tried to frame the state of missile defense and the way forward.

This new review will answer “to an environment in which we have not just ballistic missile threats but also cruise missile threats and novel types of weapons like hypersonics," the official claimed. SM3 IIA missiles will also be included in the review. The SM3 IIA missiles performed well when tested against regional mid-range missiles threat. Sources added the study/review might last up to six months.

New Space Sensors

According to the Missile Defense Agency, nine proposals are currently under evaluation for the space sensor architectures. Congress already allocated $73 million for the agency to select three that will continue the project.

For years, the Pentagon reportedly investigated the matter, concluding that the space sensors are the country's only option to defend against Chinese and Russian hypersonic weapons. The Pentagon sees the Space Sensor Layer as the necessary response to the threat of Russia’s and China’s hypersonic missiles.

Currently, the U.S. missile shield can only defend against Iran's and North Korea's intercontinental ballistic missiles. Undersecretary of Defense for Research and Engineering Mike Griffin added that the Space Sensor Layer would also track, detect and monitor incoming missiles.

“I think you’ll see operational systems in the mid and latter part of the 2020s,” Undersecretary of Defense for Policy John Rood said of the space sensors.