Russia is reportedly using its invasion of Ukraine as an opportunity to test out its new laser weapons, some of which were first introduced in 2018.
Deputy prime minister Yury Borisov claimed on Wednesday that Russia was using prototypes for a laser weapon, Zadira, that can burn up drones 5km away within five seconds.
The Kremlin has said that it is using a new wave of laser weapons to counter the western technologies aiding Ukraine’s self-defence.
Mr Borisov said that a laser weapon named Peresvet can reportedly blind satellites up to 1,500km above Earth. He said that it was already “widely deployed” and added that the new lasers using wide electromagnetic bands could eventually replace traditional weapons.
“It is already being mass-supplied to the (missile) troops, and it can blind all satellite reconnaissance systems of a likely enemy in orbits of up to 1,500 km, disabling them during the flight due to the use of laser radiation,” Mr Borisov said.
“But that, let’s say, is of today, or even in some ways of yesterday: our physicists have now created, and practically mass-produced, laser systems which are more powerful by an order of magnitude that can inflict thermal destruction on various apparatus,” he added.
These new generation of laser weapons were first announced by Russian president Vladimir Putin in 2018.
He had unveiled an array of new weapons including a new intercontinental ballistic missile, a small nuclear warhead that could be attached to cruise missiles, underwater nuclear drones, a supersonic weapon and a laser weapon at that time. But he had not given any specifics at the time, and a lot is still unknown about the new laser weapons.
Meanwhile, Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky compared the lasers to the so-called “wonder weapons” that Nazi Germany unveiled during World War Two.
“The clearer it became that they had no chance in the war, the more propaganda there was about an amazing weapon that would be so powerful as to ensure a turning point,” he said.
“And so we see that in the third month of a full-scale war, Russia is trying to find its ‘wonder weapon’ … this all clearly shows the complete failure of the mission.”