On Thursday, French Defense Minister Florence Parly announced the nation’s plans to develop anti-satellite laser weapons — though she says the country will only use them in retaliation.
“If our satellites are threatened, we intend to blind those of our adversaries,” Parly said, according to Agence France-Presse. “We reserve the right and the means to be able to respond: that could imply the use of powerful lasers deployed from our satellites or from patrolling nano-satellites.”
Approximately 2,000 satellites currently orbit the Earth, and they serve as the foundation for the planet’s global communications systems. Knock out the right satellites, and you could effectively disable an entire nation’s ability to communicate.
This isn’t the first sign that France is starting to prepare for space warfare, either — on July 13, President Emmanuel Macron announced plans to create a French space force command.
That command, which will operate within the French air force, will go live on September 1 — a sign France knows it has no time to waste if it wants to effectively protect its interests in space.
READ MORE: France to develop anti-satellite laser weapons: defence minister [Agence France-Presse]
More on space warfare: Has a Space War Between US, China, Russia Already Started?