US Declares Moratorium on ‘Destructive’ Anti-Satellite Weapons Tests

April 20th, 2022 - by Kyle Anzalone / The Libertarian Institute & Jewish News Service

VP Harris Announces Moratorium on
‘Destructive’ Anti-Satellite Weapons Tests

Kyle Anzalone / The Libertarian Institute

(April 19, 2022) — The US will enter a self-imposed moratorium on anti-satellite missile tests. Vice President Kamala Harris called out other countries to follow the US lead while making the announcement.

Harris said the US would end “destructive, direct-accent” anti-satellite weapons tests. “As of today the United States commits not to conduct destructive, direct-ascent, anti-satellite missile testing. Simply put, these tests are dangerous and we will not conduct them. We are the first nation to make such a commitment. I call on all nations to join us,” the vice president said.

While the ban would eliminate some of the space-based weapons tests, it would not ban all anti-satellite testing. According to Politico, “the announcement does not include other less destructive ASAT weapons, such as “co-orbital” — which use another spacecraft to interfere with a satellite in orbit — or electronic jamming and computer hacks.”

It is unclear if the Arrow-3 missile interceptor system will fall within the test ban. The weapon is being jointly developed by the US and Israel and is intended to target missiles in low orbit. However, the Arrow-3 is also capable of hitting satellites. The US tested the missile interceptor as recently as January.

The US, India, Russia, and China have all conducted anti-satellite tests over the past few decades. The tests are responsible for causing some space debris that can be dangerous to people or other objects in space.

Russia destroyed a satellite during a test in November. The US claimed the test irresponsibly endangered the crew of the International Space Station with its debris.

The announcement comes after the White House proposed a record Space Force budget for 2023.

Israel, US Successfully Test Arrow 3
Anti-ballistic-missile System

Jewish News Service

(January 18, 2022) —  Israel conducted a successful test of its Arrow 3 anti-ballistic-missile system on Tuesday, together with the US Missile Defense Agency (MDA), according to the Israeli Defense Ministry.

“This test was designed to challenge every element of the Arrow Weapon System, and it performed beautifully,” said MDA Director Vice. Adm. Jon Hill.

sraeli Missile Defense Organization (IMDO) Director Moshe Patel said that Tuesday’s flight test, which was conducted at a site in central Israel, had been “complicated.” He noted that since the successful series of tests of the AWS in Alaska in 2019, the system’s capabilities had “significantly expanded.”

Patel thanked the MDA and the US government for their “enduring cooperation” over the past three decades in strengthening Israel’s missile defense.

Reiterating his comments following the successful 2019 tests, Hill said that the MDA “remains committed to assisting the government of Israel in upgrading its missile-defense capability against current and emerging threats.”

“This test is part of the Israel Defense Force’s multi-year development program. The success of this test is an important milestone for Israel’s operational capability to defend itself against existing and evolving threats in the region,” the Defense Ministry statement concluded.

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