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US Space Force has its first offensive weapon – here’s what it does

Airmen from the 4th Space Control Squadron take a picture in front of the Counter Communications System Block 10.2 on March 12 on Peterson Air Force Base, Colo. The 4th SPCS received the B10.2 from the Space and Missile Systems Center on Los Angeles Air Force Base, Calif. The B10.2 is a transportable space electronic warfare system that reversibly denies adversary satellite communications. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Andrew Bertain)
April 24, 2020

The U.S. Space Force has received its first offensive weapons in the form of a satellite jammer, known as a Counter Communications Systems (CCS) Block 10.2.

The CCS Block 10.2. satellite jammers were delivered to the force in March, Interesting Engineering reported. The weapon does not destroy enemy satellites, but can be used to interrupt enemy satellite communications and hinder enemy early warning systems meant to detect a U.S. attack.

“CCS is the only offensive system in the United States Space Force arsenal,” Lt. Col. Steve Brogan of the U.S. Air Force’s Space & Missile Systems Center (SMC) said in a January statement. “This upgrade puts the ‘force’ in Space Force and is critical for Space as a warfighting domain.”

The 4th Space Control Squadron (SPCS) has already been trained to use the satellite jammers.

“The upgraded CCS system is a game-changer for deployed ground forces,” said Lt. Col. William Sanders, the 4th SPCS commander. “Today, deployed forces benefit from a similar quick reaction capability providing direct operational support daily. With operational acceptance of CCS, we can employ greater effects for the combatant commands.”

U.S. Space Force Maj. Seth Horner, the program manager for implementing the satellite jammer system explained the history of the weapon’s development.

“The Counter Communications System is a transportable satellite communications system that provides a ground-based capability to reversibly deny adversary satellite communications. CCS has had incremental upgrades since the early 2000’s, which have incorporated new techniques, frequency bands, technology refreshes, and lessons learned from previous block upgrades,” Horner said. “This specific upgrade includes new software capabilities to counter new adversary targets and threats.”

Popular Mechanics reported the U.S. Space Force is not the only military force to employ satellite jamming. The Russian military currently uses a similar jammer system, the Tirada-2S “mobile satellite communications suppression complex.” A 2019 report by the U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency also determined China is developing satellite jammers.

The employment of the new weapons systems comes months after the new U.S. military branch was established and given its initial funding.

The U.S. Space Force has already noted the efforts of America’s adversaries to anti-satellite missiles and other space weapons. Russia recently tested an anti-satellite missile and previously flew “inspector” satellites dangerously close to a U.S. classified imaging satellite operated by the National Reconnaissance Office.