China Prepares for Anti-Satellite Missile Test

DN-3 test contrails

DN-3 test contrails

Updated) DN-3 missile spotted preparing for launch

By Bill Gertz December 9, 2016/12/11

China is preparing to conduct a flight test of a new missile capable of destroying satellites in space, one of Beijing’s most potent asymmetric warfare weapons.

Test preparations for the Dong Neng-3 anti-satellite missile were detected at a military facility in central China, according to Pentagon officials familiar with reports of the impending test.

Intelligence agencies were alerted to the impending test by China’s announcement of air closure zones covering the expected flight path of the DN-3.

The flight test could come as early as Thursday, the officials said.

No other details of the missile test were available. A Pentagon spokesman and a State Department official both said, “We do not comment on intelligence matters.”

Asia watcher Henri Kenhmann reported on his website this week that missile tests were expected from the People’s Liberation Army satellite launch facility known as Jiuquan, located in Inner Mongolia, and a second launch complex at Korla, located in Xinjiang, western China.

The expected tests were based on Chinese government announcements of air closure areas for Dec. 7 and Dec. 8 near those sites.

Kenhmann said the flight tests could involve a missile defense interceptor test.

China’s ballistic missile defense and anti-satellite missile programs are closely intertwined.

After Beijing came under international criticism following a 2007 anti-satellite missile test that left thousands of pieces of floating debris in space, it began conducting its anti-satellite missile program under cover of a missile defense system.

The last time China tested a DN-3 anti-satellite missile was Oct. 30, 2015 from the Korla Missile Test Complex.

Kuaizhou-11 space launcher

Kuaizhou-11 space launcher

The anti-satellite missiles are part of what the Pentagon calls “counterspace” forces, part of China’s large-scale military buildup.

“The PLA is acquiring a range of technologies to improve China’s counterspace capabilities,” the Pentagon’s latest report on the Chinese military said.

“In addition to the development of directed energy weapons and satellite jammers, China is also developing anti-satellite capabilities and has probably made progress on the anti-satellite missile system it tested in July 2014.”

In addition to missiles and lasers, China also is working on small maneuvering satellites that can grab and destroy orbiting satellites.

Richard Fisher, a China military affairs specialist, said the DN-3 appears to be based on the Kuaizhou-1 (KZ-1) mobile space launch vehicle.

“It’s about the same size as the DF-31 solid fuel mobile intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM),” he said.

Fisher, senior fellow at the International Assessment and Strategy Center, said the DN-3 could be capable of hitting satellites more than 18,640 miles away in space—more than enough to reach large U.S. surveillance satellites that occupy orbit 186 to 620 miles from earth.

“In late 2016 or by mid 2017 the PLA may test a larger solid fuel mobile space launch vehicle called the KZ-11, with a 2-meter diameter motor similar in size to the new large and multiple warhead armed DF-41 ICBM,” Fisher said.

Another space launcher on a mobile transporter is being developed called the Long March-11 (LM-11).

Long March-11 space launcher

Long March-11 space launcher

“Both the KZ-11 and the LM-11 are four-stage solid fuel mobile missiles that could also be used for anti-satellite missions,” Fisher said.

“The bottom line is that the PLA now has at least two deployed ground-launched, mobile, solid fueled direct-ascent ASAT [anti-satellite] systems and may be able to soon field two more larger third generation ground-launched ASAT systems,” he added.

The anti-satellite weapons programs are believed to be under the PLA’s new Strategic Support Force, a dedicated space warfare and cyber warfare service set up in late 2015.

The developmental KZ-11 and LM-11 systems may be used by China to target U.S. Defense Support Program (DSP) early warning satellites, along with high-orbit Global Positioning System (GPS) navigation satellites.

The DN-3 is known as a direct-ascent anti-satellite missile that destroys satellites with a warhead that rams into orbiting systems at high speeds. The DN-3 is also said to have the capability to intercept ballistic missiles in flight.

If the DN-3 test is carried out, it will be China’s ninth known anti-satellite missile test. An earlier anti-satellite missile test was carried out in July 2014.

For both the October 2015 and July 2014 tests, China asserted the tests were part of a missile defense interceptor program.

U.S. officials, however, said both test involved anti-satellite weapons.

A Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman did not return an email seeking comment.

Frank Rose, assistant secretary of state for arms control, verification, and compliance said in February 2015 that Beijing engaged in deception about the 2014 test.

“Despite China’s claims that this was not an ASAT test; let me assure you the United States has high confidence in its assessment, that the event was indeed an ASAT test,” Rose said.

“The continued development and testing of destructive ASAT systems is both destabilizing and threatens the long-term security and sustainability of the outer space environment,” he added.

Chinese netizens posted photos of the purported 2015 ASAT test near Korla, showing contrails said to be the result of the missile.

China also has two additional anti-satellite missiles known as the SC-19 and DN-2.

Update 11:01 A.M.: This article has been updated to reflect that a Pentagon spokesman said, “We do not comment on intelligence matters.”

Source: Washington Free Beacon “China Prepares for Anti-Satellite Missile Test”

Note: This is Washington Free Beacon’s report I post here for readers’ information. It does not mean that I agree or disagree with the report’ views.


4 Comments on “China Prepares for Anti-Satellite Missile Test”

  1. Foxhound says:

    I am closely following the situation, Russia and China are taking an edge over US in nearly all areas, except aircraft carriers. For that reason, US are anxious, and very nervous.
    Another article describing the mood that is prevailing in Washington
    … to illegally export to China the MQ–9 Reaper/Predator B unmanned aerial vehicle, as well as engines used in the F–35, F–22, and F–16 jet fighters and technical data associated with these platforms…”
    Another stupid claims, because everybody know that China closely works with Russia. And Russia’s engines are very well known among the best technology in the world, if not the best.
    In the past US used to claim such stupidities, like Soviet Union was far behind US technology. When soviet interceptors were better than US, US propaganda claimed it occurred because soviet spies looted US technology. Well…let’s remember that during the fall of nazis’ regime US did not hesitate to loot all german’s technologies. During the fall of the Soviet Union, US did not hesitate too, to loot all soviet technologies available.
    About spy, many people forgot that US used to spy and to steal the technologies of their opponents. Among the most famous cases is the Adolf Tolkachev’s history.
    Many people forget that the first pesa radar was soviet’s Mig-31’s one. Interceptor deployed during the early 80’s. US were in panic, and did what they could to retrieve this technology in order to catch up soviet technology.

    During Vietnam’s war, In spite of US numerical superiority the duels between F-4 Phantom II and chinese-north vietnameses Mig-21 gave the following results :
    50 mig-21 were downed F-4 Phantom II.
    At least 130 F-4 Phantom II were downed by Mig-21. During this war, US lost at least 3.000 aircrafts.
    For evident geopolitical reasons US explained this disaster by the supposed bad coordinations between US high command, and US pilots. Laughable !
    In october 1973’s war, the israeli’s situation was so despair, everybody in that time expected the imminent disappearance of Israel. It lead US and Israel to threat Syria, and Egypt with nuclear weapons, in spite of direct heavy US participations -and heavy losses- in the fights.

    The only wars that US won easily it was during 1991, and 1999 in the two cases the results were more mitigated than we believe, and in spite of US superiorities, if US had real opponents that want to resist, our actual history might be completely different.

    Without the numeric superiority US could no longer impose to the world its hegemony. Because US cannot afford to do that.
    The best proof is the situation that is prevailing nowadays in the Middle East. The reality is a duel between China-Russia and US.
    US want to overthrow the legal syrian president, and they want to put another puppet regime composed with barbaric terrorists helped by barbaric saudi’s tribe.
    China and Russia say no. They put a situation where US have no other alternaitives to directly intervene, if they want to reach their goals. As you can notice, until now they did not intervene, because US cannot afford to confront Russia, and China‘s hardware. F-22, F-35 or not.
    Because the two countries are ahead of US.


    • Some one says:

      Thanks for the insight. Please update your blog. You have great info to share.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Foxhound says:

        The next step we can see, US will spy, and loot industrial chinese technologies, if it is not already the case. China nowadays has nothing to see with China a decade ago.
        In this example, with their new indigenous processor Sunway
        China is leading in high tech, as it is satlites, space, radars, etc… they can afford to invest too much money, contrary to US that are in bankruptcy , hence are in panic mode
        This kind of communiques are just toward US allies, in order to tell them that their leader is still here.
        However no one is fool, everybody understood that US, and west are lagging behind China and Russia. In South East Asia, China is leading initiatives, not the US this time.


  2. Steve says:

    Excellent Post – China’s anti-satellite missile test are a necessity to keep the hegemonic mongrels at bay.

    Liked by 1 person