In the early 2000s, the arms manufacturer Lockheed Martin began designing near-space platforms to work alongside U.S. satellites.
The program began amid concerns in the defense community that such platforms would eventually be necessary for the survival of the U.S. intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance systems that rely on satellites.
Yet, like many other U.S. weapons systems that anticipate near-future threats, the project was cast to the wayside through budget cuts and a sense of hubris that the United States was far enough ahead of its adversaries to not worry.
And now, like many other abandoned U.S. military projects, these near-space platforms are being developed by the Chinese regime.
IHS Jane’s reported on Oct. 19 that the Chinese regime tested a high-altitude airship (HAA), the Yuanmeng (Dream). It’s a project of the Beijing Aerospace Technology Company and the Beijing University of Astronautics and Aeronautics.
Richard Fisher, the author of the IHS Jane’s piece, and a senior fellow at the International Assessment Strategy Center, explained in a phone call why this development deserves attention.
With near space aircrafts, Fisher said, the Chinese regime would have “near continuous” coverage beneath them, and “these sensors would be powerful enough to allow China to target any ships with its anti-ship ballistic missiles and cruise missiles on any platforms.”
According to Fisher, even if the United States were to start developing the systems now, the Chinese regime could soon have working versions, while the U.S. would still just be in the concept stage.
Full article: CHINA SECURITY: Abandoned US Weapon Project Now Being Developed by Chinese Military (The Epoch Times)