France Exploring ‘Largely-Ignored’ Higher Airspace

The French military is exploring ways to take advantage of a “largely-ignored” region in higher airspace to prepare for future battles.

Located 100 kilometers (62 miles) above sea level, the region is usually too high for an aircraft to reach and too low for satellites.

Research on potential Higher Airspace Operations has already begun in the French military, according to a report by Breaking Defense.

The information was disclosed to the public during a seminar in Paris earlier this month.

French Armed Forces chief of staff Thierry Burkhard ordered the country’s Air and Space Force to come up with a detailed report on how to utilize and protect this level of airspace.

“Today we are launching our thinking on this and will probably develop a concept which might later lead to a doctrine,” Air and Space Force chief of staff Stéphane Mille said, as quoted by the outlet.

Earlier Attempts

The higher airspace the French military is exploring starts from midway in the stratosphere and up to the top of the mesosphere.

Before the advent of modern technologies, such an area was nearly impossible to reach because available engines could not support operations at that altitude.

However, due to the invention of more sophisticated propulsion systems, some nations have been able to reach this higher airspace with balloons and solar-powered drones.

The US, for example, has been seeking drones with advanced intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance payloads that can operate in the stratosphere.

“But today technology allows sensor-carrying balloons, for example, to use this space. Do we really want a balloon sent up by a hostile force sitting above Paris and watching our every move and being unable to deal with it?” Mille remarked.

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