Saturday, March 11, 2017

China's Space Weapons

Sadly, the potential for war in space seems to have grown - or at least I have now become aware of this in an email sent to me.

Below are the opening and closing paragraphs of this recent detailed, well-researched and sourced article, with a link to the full article. Military agencies have been aware of this for a while, so there is probably much more about this that the public does not know.

What we can we or should do with this information?

This issue and article is all the more significant with the recent escalation of tension between North Korea and the world as a result of nuclear testing, missile tests and assassinations, China's support of N. Korea against South Korean and US alliance activity, and especially China's escalation of trade war tactics against the new THAD defensive anti-missile technology.

"Light wars: space-based lasers among Beijing’s hi-tech arms...

China’s military is developing powerful lasers, electromagnetic railguns and high-power microwave weapons for use in a future “light war” involving space-based attacks on satellites.

Beijing’s push to produce so-called directed-energy weapons aims to neutralize America’s key strategic advantage: the web of intelligence, communication and navigation satellites enabling military strikes of unparalleled precision expeditionary warfare far from US shores.

The idea of a space-based laser gun was disclosed in the journal Chinese Optics in December 2013....

“In future wars, the development of ASAT [anti-satellite] weapons is very important,” they wrote. “Among those weapons, laser attack system enjoys significant advantages of fast response speed, robust counter-interference performance and a high target destruction rate, especially for a space-based ASAT system. So the space-based laser weapon system will be one of the major ASAT development projects.”

The researchers propose building a 5-ton chemical laser that will be stationed in low-earth orbit as a combat platform capable of destroying satellites in orbit. Given funding by the Chinese military, which is in charge of China’s space program, the satellite-killing laser could be deployed by 2023.

According to the article, an anti-satellite attack in space would employ a ground-based radar to identify a target satellite, a special camera to provide precision targeting and a deployable membrane telescope that would focus the laser beam on the target satellite....

The closing paragraph of the article does not bode well:

“As long as China demonstrates its willingness to exploit much of its space program for potential military missions, the US must possess options for at least neutralizing potential threats, preferably short of threatening lives,” Fisher says."