China may deploy anti-satellite laser weapons next year able to destroy U.S. military satellites
WASHINGTON – China's military is expected to deploy a laser weapon capable of destroying or damaging U.S. military satellites in low earth orbit in the next year, the Pentagon's Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) disclosed in a report on space threats. Bill Gertz at the Washington Free Beacon reports.
The Military & Aerospace Electronics take:
18 Feb 2019 -- The Chinese directed-energy weapon is among several space warfare tools that include ground-based anti-satellite (ASAT) missiles, electronic jammers, cyber attacks, and small satellites that Beijing plans to use in attacks on U.S. satellites in a future conflict. This DIA report is the first time a U.S. intelligence agency disclosed details of the anti-satellite (ASAT) laser deployment plans.
China's ASAT laser weapons have been known since at least 2006, when China used a ground based laser to "dazzle" an orbiting U.S. satellite in what was viewed as a test attack. The laser incident came a year before the 2007 Chinese ASAT missile test against an orbiting weather satellite that created a dangerous orbiting debris field.
In addition to lasers, China has worked on other directed energy arms, including high-powered microwave, radio frequency, railgun, and particle beam weapons. Lasers are regarded as ideal ASAT weapons because their effects can be more easily masked.
John Keller, chief editor
Military & Aerospace Electronics
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