Rapid development of the West ballistic missile, mostly those from United States, forced Soviet Union officials to start finding reliable protection against possible missile attack. In general, defense against such missiles was difficult, so Ministry in Soviet Union decide to make system for destructions of the enemy satellite’s and that was find to be more easy then detect and destruction of the fast missile. In the Soviet Union, that program get code name Anti SOY (анти-СОИ). This Soviet killer stations was incorporated into war doctrine of pre-emptive retaliatory strike, where enemy satellite’s need to be destroyed first and then this make clear path for Soviet ballistic missiles.
Idea was to use high energy laser for that duty and such laser was developed in Kurchatov Institute of nuclear Technology. That was carbon dioxide laser and early tested on one modified Il-76 in 1983. That airplane was Il-76MD, Soviet register SSSR-86879 (СССР-86879) but it was mostly called Il-76LL with BL (Ил-76ЛЛ с БЛ), which denote flying lab with combat laser (боевым лазер). For the operations of laser was built in two electric generators AI-24BT(АИ-24ВТ ) with power of 2,1 MW. Space craft which should use third laser was 17F19D Skif-D(17Ф19Д “Скиф-Д”), where letter D mean demonstrational (демонстрационный) and order to built it was assigned at 27th August 1984. KB Salyut (КБ “Салют”) was dedicated for its manufacture and plan was to launch in space Skif-D in early 1987 and booster rocket was to ne Energiya (“Энергия”). In the operational structure of Skif-D should also be included transport craft as well spaceship Buran. First Skif-D should have number 18101 on its airframe.
Testing’s of laser in the specially made vacuum tunnel, show some problems in operations and possible aiming on targets so this made need to make one craft just for systems testing’s, without laser and it was named Skif-D1. Plans for launching was June 1987. for Skif-D1 (N18101) and 1988. for Skif-D2 (18301) with laser. Follow to that was plans to launch another craft of that type, heavy one, 17F19C Stilleto (17Ф19С “Скиф-Стилет”). This system already exist as ground system, which used infra red laser on 1.06 nm frequency. During the 1985. was first test buster rocker Energia.
After some corrections, new version appeared, Skif-DM, it was 77 tons weight, 36,9m long and diameter of 4,1m and it was done in Lavochkin, well know fighter manufacturer from WW2. Alongside with various equipment testing’s was also prepared various targets on which system was to be tested from orbit. Skif-DM was painted in special black color, in order to maximize heating the the unit. Complex get code 14A02 and it consist from RH 11K25 Energiya N6SL (РН 11К25 “Энергия” N6СЛ) and KA 17F19DM Skif-DM N18201. (КА 17Ф19ДМ “Скиф-ДМ” N18201). In February 1987. were decided to launch it and make test above Pacific Ocean against four military targets and six geophysical.
Few days before planed start, on kosmodrom Baykonur arived president Gorbachov and he met personnel who was engaged into this project. Met was followed by his long speech. And in this speech he notes that ‘we are against sending armament into space’. destiny of the project was clear after that. Finances were reduced and finally all work stop in 1989., this make death to the Soviet Star War program.