Russian officials have told state media that they are developing a bomber that will be capable of firing nuclear missiles from outer space, according to the state-controlled Sputnik News.
Such a bomber would be illegal under international law, and it’s unclear if the aircraft will ever actually materialize, but officials said this week that they were working on it, and hoped to have a test bomber operating by 2020.
Officials also unveiled a rendering of the bomber (above), and said that it would be capable of hypersonic speeds, or speeds over five times the speed of sound.
“The idea is that the bomber will take off from a normal home airfield to patrol Russian airspace. Upon command it will ascend into outer space, strike a target with nuclear warheads and then return to its home base,” Lt. Col. Aleksei Solodovnikov told the state-owned RIA Novosti, according to Sputnik News.
Russia claims it has already been testing engines, which will be unveiled at a military conference in September.
A functional space nuclear bomber, however, is a different matter. We will believe it when we see it.