A view of US Air Force F-15 with anti-satellite missile in flight, Sept. 9, 1985. Getty

It is becoming increasingly likely that countries will be battling out in space against each other in the near future, warns US intelligence agencies.

According to a recent report by United States intelligence community on world threat assessment, countries particularly Russia and China are currently perusing anti-satellite (ASAT) weapons to thwart the “U.S. and allied military effectiveness.”

“Foreign countries — particularly China and Russia — will continue to expand their space-based reconnaissance, communications, and navigation systems in terms of the numbers of satellites, the breadth of their capability, and the applications for use,” said the report, which included inputs from organizations like the FBI, CIA, and National Security Agency.

U.S. has certainly made strides in technological innovations but so has other countries in efforts to increase their access to space-derived information services, such as imagery, weather, communications, and positioning, navigation, and timing for intelligence, military, scientific, or business purposes.

The intelligence agencies noted that Russia and China will continue to pursue ASAT and if successful in their endeavor, they will pose a great threat to the U.S. The report delved into the intentions of Russia and China and said, “Russia and China aim to have nondestructive and destructive counter space weapons available for use during a potential future conflict.”

It warned if any future conflicts were to occur involving Russia or China, they will not stop in their efforts to use the weapons against the U.S. Russian and Chinese ASATS will probably reach operational capability in the next few years, which is a cause of immense concern for the U.S., the report noted.

In the past few years, military reforms of both countries indicate a strong determination to build weapons particularly designed to attack the space systems and services of other countries. According to the report, China already began training their military units to operate ground-based ASAT missiles and started testing their counter space missiles.

“China’s PLA (People Liberation Army) has amassed military units and begun initial operational training with counter space capabilities that it has been developing, such as ground-launched ASAT missiles. Russia probably has a similar class of system in development,” it said.

In addition to this, Russia and China also started building directed-energy weapons technologies, which could be used to damage sensitive space technologies. In reference to this the report said, “both countries are also advancing directed-energy weapons technologies for the purpose of fielding ASAT weapons that could blind or damage sensitive space-based optical sensors, such as those used for remote sensing or missile defense.”

U.S. intelligence agencies expressed concern that certain satellites that appear innocuous in their applications such as satellites aimed at inspection, refueling and repair could also be applied as a weapon.

“Of particular concern, Russia and China continue to launch “experimental” satellites that conduct sophisticated on-orbit activities, at least some of which are intended to advance counter space capabilities. Some technologies with peaceful applications — such as satellite inspection, refueling, and repair — can also be used against adversary spacecraft.”

If the report has accurately tapped into the machinations of Russia and China to build a space weapon of mass destruction, the likelihood of wars in space wouldn’t just be the plot of a Hollywood Sci-Fi script but will turn into a stark reality.

The report comes weeks after Russia accused Washington of similar transgressions and raised questions about the country’s military intentions. According to reports last month, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said U.S. aimed to deploy their weapons into outer space which will increase the threat to international security.