The U.S. Space Force recently acquired its first offensive weaponry: a device capable of blocking satellite communications, temporarily rendering orbiting satellites useless.
The technology behind these Counter Communications Systems, as they’re called, has already existed for years, Interesting Engineering reports, but the devices were only delivered to the military last month. With them, the U.S. can now disable enemy satellites from the ground.
While these weapons are new for the U.S. military, they had already been deployed elsewhere. For instance, Popular Mechanics reports that Russia’s military has had similar weapons in place since 2019.
And while the technical details of how the jammers work are kept under wraps, PopMech reports that there have been at least 13 similar systems up and running around the world back in 2017.
While the Counter Communication Systems don’t actually damage the satellites they target, they pose a major threat to military and other communication networks that rely on satellites to relay messages.
That means soldiers could be cut off from communication networks while they’re on a mission. And in a far more drastic scenario, missile alert systems could suddenly be disabled, leaving whatever nation got jammed vulnerable to a devastating attack.
READ MORE: U.S. Space Force’s First Offensive Weapon Is a Satellite Jammer [Interesting Engineering]
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