Pentagon: China, Russia Developing Satellite-Killing Lasers

Evarado Alatorre
Febrero 14, 2019

A new Pentagon report has warned that China and Russian Federation were both developing space capabilities to threaten the USA, including lasers that could target and destroy American satellites.

"China and Russian Federation, in particular, are developing a variety of means to exploit perceived United States reliance on space-based systems and challenge the U.S. position in space, ' the Defence Intelligence Agency report said".

"Both countries have developed robust and capable space services", the report said.

The Chinese and Russian developed military doctrines based on the idea that space is essential to modern warfare and counterspace capabilities are key to countering US and allied military advantages, the report says.

"The People's Liberation Army also sees counterspace operations as a means to deter and counter a possible U.S. intervention during a regional military conflict", the report said, adding that destroying satellites would make it hard for the United States to target precision guided weapons. The growth of China's space capabilities and the need to help safeguard United States satellites have been cited by the Trump administration as a reason why the U.S. needs a Space Force.

In 2008, Russian Federation and China put forward for the discussion at the Disarmament Conference the draft Treaty on the Prevention of the Placement of Weapons in Outer Space, the Threat or Use of Force Against Outer Space Objects.

Additionally, Russia and China now have "enhanced situational awareness, enabling them to monitor, track and target US and allied forces", the report said. "'The future of war" U.S. and China have seen relations deteriorate grow across a range of fronts in the past year, from trade tensions with the Trump administration to diplomatic and military disputes.

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The new report follows one the agency released last month on China's military power, including its anti-satellite weapons and other counterspace capabilities. State, non-state and commercial actors increasingly will have access to information from space.

China was also developing satellite inspection and fix techniques - some of which could function as weapons and speed up the development of space debris removal technology, the report said.

The report notes the space threat posed by North Korea and Iran, who have demonstrated satellite jamming as well, and touches on the growing problem of space junk.

"The number of satellites and debris on orbit will grow concurrently, making tracking satellites, discriminating threats from non-threats, and predicting and preventing collisions a greater challenge", it said. On his first full day on the job in January, acting Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan told senior leaders at the Pentagon to 'remember China, China, China.' One area of relative cooperation so far has been in space exploration.

"Space is fundamental to US prosperity", the Pentagon official said.

Space is the enabling domain for many capabilities, from hand-held devices to precision navigation.

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