SPACE is now a battlefield, the head of the Royal Air Force has warned.
The final frontier is classified as a “warfighting domain,” where Britain and her allies no longer enjoy the control they once had.
Air Chief Marshal Mike Wigston said anti-satellite weapons, built by states like Russia and China, had threatened to wreak havoc on our way of life.
“We are critically dependent on space,” he said. “Any loss or disruption to our satellite services would have a disastrous effect on people’s day-to-day lives.”
Satellites are key to mobile navigation apps like Google Maps.
They are also vital for communications and military surveillance.
Speaking at RAF Waddington, Lincs, the 80th anniversary of the Battle of Britain, he said Britain was facing a “new kind of war” just as it did in 1940, when Winston Churchill paid tribute to the RAF’s “few” who defeated Hitler’s Luftwaffe.
Dominating air and space gave UK forces a “winning edge” in Iraq and Afghanistan, Air Chief Marshal Wigson said.
“It would be easy to take this for granted,” he cautioned.
“But our potential adversaries have watched us and they have learnt…Space is now a contested warfighting domain.”
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Russia enraged the west by firing a space based weapon at one of its own satellites in July.
China fired a ground based weapon at a weather satellite in 2007.
Air Marshal Wigston said the armed forces “need to rebalance” to meet the current threat.
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