France has the third-oldest space agency in the world and is spending big money to develop it further. As President Emmanuel Macron recently announced, the country will soon create a space force responsible for defending its satellites.
Also, France’s Minister of Defence revealed that the country would be reallocating €700 million from the military budget for space defense, with more than €4.3 billion to be spent by 2025, according to Le Point (via Task & Purpose).
Minister Florence Parly announced a program that would develop nanosatellites equipped with guns and lasers. The investment would to towards upgrading France’s network of Syracuse military communications satellites, which are operated by the French Navy. The military wants to equip the next generation of satellites with cameras to identify possible threats and going further, it will want to attach submachine guns and lasers to attack and disable other satellites.
By 2030, the Ministry of Defence says it wants to have the ability to launch groups of nanosatellites into orbit that could protect strategic objects and be able to launch satellites quickly to replace ones that have been lost.
Regarding the “Outer Space Treaty”, Parly says the new developments would not go against it.
The treaty explicitly prohibits things like nuclear weapons or “other weapons of mass destruction” in space. The French aren’t looking to go on the offensive to take out enemy satellites. “Active defense is not an offensive strategy; it’s self-defense,” Parly noted according to Task & Purpose.