May 2, 2021
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Russia is approaching the creation of an orbital fighter

The Russian Federation has always consistently opposed the transformation of outer space into a zone of military confrontation. The trend towards the militarization of outer space will lead to the undermining of strategic stability and will seriously threaten international security. Moscow has repeatedly stated that it is committed to the task of complete demilitarization of outer space and non-deployment of any types of weapons in outer space.

Another such statement was made by the Russian Foreign Ministry on April 23, 2021: “We confirm that we, as before, are open to discussing the entire spectrum of space security issues with all interested states, including the United States.”

As a practical step, it is proposed to start a negotiation process and develop appropriate international legal documents on the basis of the Russian-Chinese draft Treaty on the Prevention of the Placement of Weapons in Outer Space, the Use of Force or the Threat of Force against Space Objects. An updated draft of this treaty was presented on June 10, 2014 at the Conference on Disarmament in Geneva.

However, the repeated proposals of Russia and China do not find a positive response from Western countries, and primarily from the United States. As recently as April 20, 2021, speaking before the US Senate Armed Forces Committee, the head of the US Space Command, James Dickinson, lashed out at Russia: “Russia is seeking to limit US space capabilities in order to gain an edge in future conflicts.”

James Dickinson /

According to Dickinson, “Moscow has come to the conclusion that dominance in space has a decisive influence on the outcome of future military conflicts and it is developing space attack systems to threaten the space forces and assets of the United States and its allies.”

The head of the space command said that Russia “is developing anti-space weapons systems capable of blocking, damaging or destroying American space systems” to reduce the military effectiveness of the United States and to “control the escalation of conflicts.”

He also believes that Russia regards the space factor as “a necessary component of victory in modern wars” and considers the US dependence on space as a vulnerability that could be exploited in a hypothetical conflict.

Moscow cannot underestimate the role of space in a potential conflict. According to Mikhail Kovalchuk, President of the Kurchatov Institute National Research Center, it is the implementation of the unified Soviet atomic space project that allows Russia to this day to have sovereignty and be one of the most high-tech powers in the world.

“The implementation of the atomic project is the creation of nuclear weapons, and then nuclear submarines. And the creation of ballistic missiles carrying a nuclear charge was the creation of the atomic and space industry, “said Kovalchuk.

Against the background of the fact that the United States and its allies refuse to assume obligations to demilitarize outer space and non-deployment of weapons in space, the news about the completion in Russia of the first stage of tests of a demonstrator of a ramjet pulsating detonation engine is perceived differently. This project is being handled by the United Engine Corporation of Rostec.

Demonstrator of the ramjet pulsating detonation engine / Quote from the video on YouTube

During the tests, the demonstrator gave the required indicators. Its specific thrust in certain operating modes was up to 50% higher than that of traditional power plants. Such characteristics in the future will make it possible to increase the maximum flight range and payload mass of aircraft by 1.3-1.5 times.

By the way, a model of a pulsating detonation engine was first shown at the Army-2017 International Military-Technical Forum. The pulsating detonation engine is a completely new type of power plant for aviation due to the implementation in it of a thermodynamic cycle that is more economical than existing gas turbine engines. In the OKB them. A. Lyulki (a branch of PJSC “UEC-UMPO”) created a separate direction for the development of such power plants.

It becomes more interesting when you evaluate where the pulsating detonation engine will find application. According to experts from the Rostec aviation cluster, these can be orbital aircraft, supersonic and hypersonic aircraft, as well as promising rocket and space systems.

What is an orbital plane? This is the name of a winged aircraft of an airplane scheme, which enters or is launched into orbit of an artificial Earth satellite through a vertical or horizontal launch and returns from this orbit after completing the task. The orbital plane lands on the airfield horizontally, using the lift of the glider.

Thus, in the future, Russian engineers will be able to create an orbital fighter. We are talking about a combat aviation and space complex capable of solving not only standard tasks, but also performing missions in orbit.

This combat vehicle will be able to destroy the enemy’s satellite grouping and intercept his ballistic missiles. The orbital fighter will also have the ability to quickly strike anywhere in the world.

Space satellite

Currently, as part of the work on the State Arms Program for the period from 2024 to 2033, the Russian Military-Industrial Commission is developing the “Main Directions for the Development of Arms, Military and Special Equipment for the Period until 2038.” This document will determine the future appearance of the Russian armed forces. We hope that the Russian orbital fighter, combat aviation and space complex will also become part of this look.

Thus, the words of the head of the US Space Command, James Dickinson, that “the Russian military is still a threat to the existence of the United States and a powerful instrument of Russia’s influence on the states of its periphery,” should be clarified.

The correct wording is as follows: the Russian military is still and in the strategic perspective will be a threat to the existence of the United States and a powerful instrument of Russia’s influence on the states of its periphery.

Vladimir Vasiliev

Cover photo: Space wars / Ivan Shilov © IA REGNUM

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