Sokol Eshelon

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Sokol Eshelon
Type Laser weapon
Place of origin Soviet Union/Russia
Production history
Designer Almaz-Antey/Beriev/Khimpromavtomatika[1][2]
Effective firing range 1,500 kilometres (930 mi)+ [3]

Sokol Eshelon (Russian: Сокол-Эшелон) is a Russian, formerly Soviet, laser weapon based anti-satellite system. It is an airborne laser based on a Beriev A-60 aircraft. In 2012 it was reported that the project is back under development and is intended for the Russian Aerospace Defence Forces once completed.


The Beriev A-60 aircraft is a laser research plane produced by Beriev based on their IL-76 transport. Development seems to have started in 1981 with the laser installed in 1983. A second plane was built in 1991. The plane contains a special nose cone with a laser targeting system.[3][4][5][2][6][7]

Sokol Eshelon[edit]

The Sokol Eshelon project started in 2003 and was first made public in the annual report of contractor Khimpromavtomatika in 2005. Other mentions include Almaz-Antey's annual report in 2006 and in a report by Radiofizika in 2009 where they mentioned their development of radar for the plane. Details also emerged due to a court case between Almaz-Antey and Beriev over payments to a subcontractor. The contract between the two parties was connected to a contract no. 5933 Almaz-Antey holds with military unit 21055. This contract is supervised by the Ministry of Defence's 27th Military Representative Office. The project seems to be known under the codename Dueliant.[4][2]

In 2009 the plane was involved in a test to illuminate Japanese satellite AJISAI which was at an orbital height of 1,500 km. The test involved seeing if a reflection of the laser off the satellite could be picked up, and wasn't intended to damage the satellite.[3][8]

The laser has been given the codename 1LK222. The purpose of the laser is to blind the sensors of enemy satellites rather than destroy them.[1][8][9]

See also[edit]

Related development:

Comparable systems:


  1. ^ a b Podvig, Pavel (13 November 2012). "Russia to resume work on airborne laser ASAT". Russian Strategic Nuclear Forces. Retrieved 17 November 2012. 
  2. ^ a b c Stukalin, Alexander (2012). "Sokol-Eshelon and Dueliant: New Space Defence Laser". Moscow Defense Brief. Centre for Analysis of Strategies and Technologies. 2012 (27). 
  3. ^ a b c Palchikov, Nikolai (13 September 2012). «Гиперболоид» Страны Советов [The Soviet "hyperboloid"] (in Russian). Krasnaya Zvedza. Retrieved 17 November 2012. 
  4. ^ a b DIMMI (13 November 2012). А-60 / 1А1 / 1А2 (in Russian). Military Russia. Retrieved 17 November 2012. 
  5. ^ Ignatiev, Aleksandr (1 April 2009). Лучом по ракете [Beam on the rocket] (in Russian). Voenno-Promishlenny Kurer. Retrieved 17 November 2012. 
  6. ^ Vlatkin, Vladimir (22 September 2010). "Russia developing laser weapons - military chief". RIA Novosti. Retrieved 17 November 2012. 
  7. ^ А-60 (in Russian). 22 September 2010. Retrieved 17 November 2012. 
  8. ^ a b Podvig, Pavel (13 November 2012). "Russia to resume work on airborne laser ASAT". Russian Strategic Nuclear Forces. Retrieved 17 November 2012. 
  9. ^ Минобороны возобновит создание боевого лазера [Ministry of Defence resumes military laser development] (in Russian). Izvestia. 13 November 2012. Retrieved 17 November 2012.