Sokol Eshelon

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Sokol Eshelon
TypeLaser weapon
Place of originSoviet Union/Russia
Production history
Effective firing range1,500 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 Дуэлянт (Duelyant, en. duelist).[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] Its developmental work was reportedly finished as of early 2018.[10]

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.
  10. ^