French expert sees imminent space warfare

30th January 2004, Comments 0 comments

STOCKHOLM, Jan 29 (AFP) - The 20th century added a new dimension to warfare with the nuclear bomb, and the 21st could well be remembered for bringing the arms race into space, a French weapons expert said Thursday.

STOCKHOLM, Jan 29 (AFP) - The 20th century added a new dimension to warfare with the nuclear bomb, and the 21st could well be remembered for bringing the arms race into space, a French weapons expert said Thursday.

"Up until now, space has been militarized in the sense that military operations have made a lot of use of satellites ... either for communications, for navigation, for eavesdropping or for surveillance," Therese Delpech, the director for strategic affairs at the Atomic Energy Commission in Paris, told AFP in Stockholm.

"What is completely new," she added, "is what I call the weaponization of space, which is much more serious, and concerns the possibility in the (near) future of having weapons in space, or developing weapons that can destroy satellites in space. This would add another dimension to warfare."

This could be just a decade away, according to Delpech, in Stockholm for the first meeting of a new Swedish-funded international commission on weapons of mass destruction, which is headed by former UN chief weapons inspector Hans Blix.

The independent commission, made up of 15 weapons experts from 15 countries, will over the next two years attempt to find ways of limiting the spread of nuclear, chemical and biological weapons, as well as on ways of disarming countries that already have such weapons.

While several commissioners emphasized the importance of addressing the continuing threat of nuclear proliferation, Delpech urged that greater attention be paid to a whole new generation of threats.

"I truly believe that the 20th century was the age of physics, while the 21st century will be the age of information technology and life sciences. And that holds the potential for horrifying military applications," she said, adding that developments in biological weapons gave of particular concern.

"There are much greater possibilities of dissimulating biological activities than nuclear activities. That's a real problem. ... The military applications are absolutely devastating," she said.

© AFP

                                Subject: France news

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