With the televised demonstration of China’s latest system of intercepting incoming ballistic missiles during the intermediate stage of their flight, it looks like the People’s Republic is poised to become the second country after the US to deploy a missile shield.
In an interview with Sputnik, Vasily Kashin, a Moscow-based military expert, said that in their effort to develop what may be dubbed HQ-19, the Chinese may possibly be working closely with Russia, whose S-500 Prometey missile defense system, now under development, and the strategic missile system A-235 Nudol, which is currently undergoing trials, will be able to shoot down incoming warheads even before they enter the atmosphere. Continue reading
What was once restricted to the realm of fiction and fantasy is now reality, and the U.S. is already losing.
In the last few decades, the idea of space warfare has evolved dramatically. Once perceived only in the fantasy realm of tie fighters and X-wings, war in outer space is now reality. In a technological age, satellites and military installations in orbit are taking on a pivotal role in geopolitics.
The realm formerly dominated by the United States is under threat. With each satellite launch by foreign powers, gaping holes form in America’s defenses. Space is being opened up to a number of powerful nations eager to exploit the heavens for their own military advantage. Invisible battlegrounds are forming in the night sky.
In May 2013 the Chinese government conducted what it called a science space mission from the Xichang Satellite Launch Center in southwest China. Half a world away, Brian Weeden, a former U.S. Air Force officer, wasn’t buying it. The liftoff took place at night and employed a powerful rocket as well as a truck-based launch vehicle—all quite unusual for a science project, he says.
In a subsequent report for the Secure World Foundation, the space policy think tank where he works, Weeden concluded that the Chinese launch was more likely a test of a mobile rocket booster for an antisatellite (ASAT) weapon that could reach targets in geostationary orbit about 22,236 miles above the equator. That’s the stomping grounds of expensive U.S. spacecraft that monitor battlefield movements, detect heat from the early stages of missile launches, and help orchestrate drone fleets. “This is the stuff the U.S. really cares about,” Weeden says.
The Pentagon never commented in detail on last year’s launch—and the Chinese have stuck to their story. U.S. and Japanese analysts say China has the most aggressive satellite attack program in the world. It has staged at least six ASAT missile tests over the past nine years, including the destruction of a defunct Chinese weather satellite in 2007. “It’s part of a Chinese bid for hegemony, which is not just about controlling the oceans but airspace and, as an extension of that, outer space,” says Minoru Terada, deputy secretary-general of Japan’s ruling Liberal Democratic Party. Continue reading