Pentagon report: China’s space program ‘continues to mature rapidly’


by Sandra Erwin — August 20, 2018

Chinese strategists regard the ability to use space-based systems — and to deny them to adversaries — as “central to modern warfare.”

WASHINGTON — China is stepping up the militarization of space despite public statements to the contrary, the U.S. Defense Department contends in its most recent report on China’s military capabilities.

DoD by law must submit a report annually on military and security developments involving the People’s Republic of China. The 2018 edition was released on Friday.

China’s continued investments and efforts in space technology are a major concern for the Pentagon, the report says. Chinese strategists regard the ability to use space-based systems — and to deny them to adversaries — as “central to modern warfare.”

China is strengthening its military space capabilities despite its public stance against the militarization of space, DoD says. “Space operations are viewed as a key enabler of PLA campaigns aimed at countering third-party intervention.” One of its goals is to develop a “real-time surveillance, reconnaissance, and warning system and is increasing the number and capabilities of its space systems, including various communications and intelligence satellites and the Beidou navigation satellite system.”

The report raises concerns about China’s counterspace weapons, including kinetic-kill missiles, ground-based lasers and orbiting space robots. China also is expanding surveillance capabilities that can monitor objects across the globe and in space and “enable counterspace actions.”

The Chinese military in 2015 set up a “Strategic Support Force” to centralize the management of space, cyber and electronic warfare missions.

China’s space program continues to mature rapidly, the report says. It has built an expansive ground support infrastructure to support a growing on-orbit fleet. China in 2017 successfully launched 16 of 18 space launch vehicles, orbiting some 31 spacecraft, including communications, navigation, surveillance and test/engineering satellites.

Two launch failures within two weeks created significant delays in China’s national space program, the report says. A Long March 3B partially failed due to faulty guidance, navigation, and control. A Long March 5 launch catastrophically failed due to a manufacturing defect. The LM-5 is to become China’s new heavy-lift vehicle, launching up to 25,000 kg into low earth orbit and will play an important role in the assembly of the Chinese Space Station starting around 2018. China is expected to bring on-orbit assembly of its own space station in 2019.

Since DoD started producing this report in 2001, this is the first one where counterspace capabilities are mentioned in a more alarming tone. “In addition to the development of directed- energy weapons and satellite jammers, China is also developing direct-ascent and co-orbital kinetic kill capabilities and has probably made progress on the anti-satellite missile system it tested in July 2014.” The Pentagon believes China is “probably testing dual-use technologies in space that could be applied to counterspace missions.”

China has not publicly acknowledged the existence of any new programs since it confirmed it used an anti-satellite missile to destroy a weather satellite in 2007, but Chinese academics have offered some insight, the report says. “These scholars stress the necessity of destroying, damaging, and interfering with the enemy’s reconnaissance . . . and communications satellites, suggesting that such systems, as well as navigation and early warning satellites, could be among the targets of attacks designed to blind and deafen the enemy.”

China has solidified its position as the second-largest military spender in the world after the United States. In early 2017, China announced a 6.5 percent inflation-adjusted increase in its annual military budget to $154.3 billion, approximately 1.3 percent of gross domestic product. “This budget continues more than two decades of annual defense spending increases and sustains China’s defense budget has doubled during the past decade,” the report says.

The Pentagon also took note of the technological advances in China’s space industry. Companies are developing surveillance, navigation, and communication satellite constellations, and making considerable progress in space lift, human spaceflight, and lunar exploration programs. “China hopes to expand its space launch vehicle industry to support commercial launches and make rapid satellite launch services available to foreign customers,” the report says. “China will probably launch, assemble in-orbit, and operate a crewed Chinese space station before 2025.”

Another development of interest to the Pentagon is China’s work in quantum satellites. “Priorities include unconditional security of network data across long distances, ultimately creating a global quantum network of classical (i.e.non-quantum) data secured by quantum cryptographic keys,” says the report. Other areas where China is concentrating significant R&D resources include nuclear fusion, hypersonic technology, and the deployment and “hardening” of an expanding constellation of multi-purpose satellites.

Although the Pentagon posted the report online on Friday, unlike previous years, it did not issue a news advisory to alert media. On Monday, Pentagon spokesman Col. Rob Manning did not explain why the release of the report was not announced but insisted there was “no effort to bury it.”

Source: Spacenews “Pentagon report: China’s space program ‘continues to mature rapidly’”

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

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State Department concerned over Russian satellite’s behavior


By: Maddy Longwell August 15

Assistant Secretary of State for Arms Control, Verification and Compliance, Yleem Poblete, addressed the Conference on Disarmament at the UN headquarters in Geneva on Tuesday. (Jean-Marc Ferré/UN photo)

A Russian satellite made a series of maneuvers in October 2017 that was “inconsistent” with its expected behavior and marks “a very troubling development,” a top U.S. diplomat said during a speech Aug. 14.

“In October of last year the Russian Ministry of Defense deployed a space object they claimed was a ‘space apparatus inspector.’ But its behavior on-orbit was inconsistent with anything seen before from on-orbit inspection or space situational awareness capabilities, including other Russian inspection satellite activities,” said Yleem Poblete. the State Department’s assistant secretary of state for arms control, verification and compliance. “We don’t know for certain what it is and there is no way to verify it. But Russian intentions with respect to this satellite are unclear and are obviously a very troubling development—particularly, when considered in concert with statements by Russia’s Space Force Commander.”

Poblete’s comments were part of an address made at the Conference on Disarmament in Geneva, Switzerland. The address comes less than a week after the Pentagon announced it would establish a Space Force as a sixth military branch. The Department of Defense released a report Aug. 9 outlining the need for and potential organizational structure of a Space Force. In particular, U.S. officials are worried about advances from China and Russia.

“Although U.S. space systems have historically maintained a technological advantage over those of potential adversaries, those potential adversaries are now actively developing way to deny our use of space in a crisis,” the report said.

Poblete used the address to highlight the potential threat of Russian space weapons such as anti-satellite weapons or missiles designed to destroy satellites.

“The Russian Ministry of Defense recently announced that its Space Troops have received a mobile laser system which Vladimir Putin announced to the world on March 1 of this year. Russia’s leader himself alluded to space weapons being ‘more acceptable in the political and military respect’,” Poblete said.

She said the purpose of the satellite detected in October remains unclear but that U.S. officials find the development especially concerning after Russia’s Space Force Commanded highlighted the importance of assimilating new weapons prototypes into its Space Force.

Poblete said Russian Ministry of Defense stated in a press release the satellites were “simply inspector satellites.”

While she did not mention the satellite by name, observers have speculated the satellite may be one of a series of Russian satellites launched June 23, 2017. In August 23, 2017, the Russian Ministry of Defense issued a press release that said “Today, a small-sized spacecraft has separated from the space platform in order to inspect condition of the Russian satellite.”

A scientific experiment aimed to assess condition of the satellite according to its internal appearance is to be held in future.

In April, the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) released a Space Threat Assessment report that identified Russia’s space force and anti-satellite technology as one of the significant threats to the United States.

The report pointed to the Soviet Union’s history of developing and operating anti-satellite weapons and the use of rendezvous and proximity operations (RPO), which involves moving a satellite to a target to damage or destroy it, as part of Russia’s advantage as it continues to develop space technology.

Similarly, a report from the Secure World Foundation, also from April, found that Russia is investing heavily in Rendezvous and Proximity Operations, or RPO – the ability to have a system in space maneuver around and interact with another nation’s satellites. However, that report noted there is “no proof” these are disruptive capabilities as opposed to intelligence gathering investments

Source: c4isrnet.com “State Department concerned over Russian satellite’s behavior”

Note: This is c4isrnet.com’s report I post here for readers’ information. It does not mean that I agree or disagree with the report’ views.


The Secret Way China and Russia Would Crush America in a War


Dave Majumdar

August 23, 2017

China is on the verge of fielding an operational anti-satellite weapon. Meanwhile, both great powers are working on developing directed energy weapons to counter American satellites. “Ten years after China intercepted one of its own satellites in low-Earth orbit, its ground-launched ASAT missiles might be nearing operational service within the PLA [People’s Liberation Army],” Coats stated. “Both countries are advancing directed energy weapons technologies for the purpose of fielding ASAT systems that could blind or damage sensitive space-based optical sensors. Russia is developing an airborne laser weapon for use against US satellites.”

Russia and China are actively pursuing new weapons and capabilities to counter America’s dominance of space according a U.S. Intelligence Community assessment. Indeed, both nations are considering the development of weapons that could attack U.S. satellites and other space-based assets in orbit.

“We assess that Russia and China perceive a need to offset any U.S. military advantage derived from military, civil, or commercial space systems and are increasingly considering attacks against satellite systems as part of their future warfare doctrine,” reads congressional testimony from Daniel Coats, director of National Intelligence on May 11. “Both will continue to pursue a full range of anti- satellite (ASAT) weapons as a means to reduce U.S. military effectiveness.”

The two great powers—which seek to offset America’s advantages in that domain—are continuing the development of such capabilities despite public statements that would curtain an arms race in space. “Russia and China remain committed to developing capabilities to challenge perceived adversaries in space, especially the United States, while publicly and diplomatically promoting nonweaponization of space and ‘no first placement’ of weapons in space,” Coats stated. “Such commitment continues despite ongoing US and allied diplomatic efforts to dissuade expansion of threats to the peaceful use of space, including international engagements through the U.N.”

Most attacks against U.S. space assets are likely to be non-kinetic, focusing on electronic attacks and cyber-warfare. “Development will very likely focus on jamming capabilities against dedicated military satellite communications (SATCOM), Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) imaging satellites, and enhanced capabilities against Global Navigation Satellite Systems (GNSS), such as the US Global Positioning System (GPS),” Coats’ testimony reads. “Blending of EW [electronic warfare] and cyber-attack capabilities will likely expand in pursuit of sophisticated means to deny and degrade information networks. Chinese researchers have discussed methods to enhance robust jamming capabilities with new systems to jam commonly used frequencies. Russia intends to modernize its EW forces and field a new generation of EW weapons by 2020.”

However, when electronic warfare and cyber-weapons fail to achieve their desired objectives, the Russian and Chinese are prepared to use kinetic force to physically destroy American space assets. “Some new Russian and Chinese ASAT weapons, including destructive systems, will probably complete development in the next several years,” Coats stated. “Russian military strategists likely view counterspace weapons as an integral part of broader aerospace defense rearmament and are very likely pursuing a diverse suite of capabilities to affect satellites in all orbital regimes.”

But it’s not just the Russian military; policymakers in Moscow are also promoting anti-satellite weapons in the view of the U.S. intelligence community. “Russian lawmakers have promoted military pursuit of ASAT missiles to strike low-Earth orbiting satellites, and Russia is testing such a weapon for eventual deployment,” Coats stated. “A Russian official also acknowledged development of an aircraft-launched missile capable of destroying satellites in low-Earth orbit.”

On the other side of the world, China is on the verge of fielding an operational anti-satellite weapon. Meanwhile, both great powers are working on developing directed energy weapons to counter American satellites. “Ten years after China intercepted one of its own satellites in low-Earth orbit, its ground-launched ASAT missiles might be nearing operational service within the PLA [People’s Liberation Army],” Coats stated. “Both countries are advancing directed energy weapons technologies for the purpose of fielding ASAT systems that could blind or damage sensitive space-based optical sensors. Russia is developing an airborne laser weapon for use against US satellites.”

Additionally, both nations are developing satellites that can either tamper with other space assets or if necessary collide with and destroy an enemy orbital vehicle. “Russia and China continue to conduct sophisticated on-orbit satellite activities, such as rendezvous and proximity operations, at least some of which are likely intended to test dual-use technologies with inherent counterspace functionality,” Coats stated. “For instance, space robotic technology research for satellite servicing and debris-removal might be used to damage satellites. Such missions will pose a particular challenge in the future, complicating the U.S. ability to characterize the space environment, decipher intent of space activity, and provide advance threat warning.”

Thus, as time goes on, the Pentagon will have to invest more to ensure America retains its superiority in space.

Dave Majumdar is the defense editor for The National Interest. You can follow him on Twitter: @davemajumdar.

Source: National Interest “The Secret Way China and Russia Would Crush America in a War”

Note: This is National Interest’s article I post here for readers’ information. It does not mean that I agree or disagree with the article’s views.


China Busy Testing Space Weapons


These are not UFOs but China testing space weapons

These are not UFOs but China testing space weapons

The above scenes have often been seen in Chinese desert and regarded by people as the appearance of UFOs, but a mil.news.sina.com.cn Depth Column article on May 28 points out that those are scenes of China’s tests of anti-satellite (ASAT) weapons.

Picture of China's SC-19 mobile ASAT missile

Picture of China’s SC-19 mobile ASAT missile

The Depth Column article says China has now been developing lots of ASAT weapons including the SC-19 mobile ASAT missile in the above picture, Shenlong aerospace aircraft, Dongneng-2 ASAT missile and DF-ZF and Wu-14 hypersonic flying vehicles. In addition, China already has rockets and small killer satellites to neutralize existing satellites whether in low or high GPS orbit.

Pentagon certainly does not regard those tests as UFOs. On May 26, Brigadier General Nina M. Armagno of the 45th Space Wing in US Air Force pointed out in a speech that China has developed lots of space weapons. To counter that the US is making earnest preparations for the establishment of a trans-department joint space action center and a new space task force.

Source: mil.news.sina.com.cn “Depth Column: Frequent appearance of UFOs in China’s vast desert with hidden killers that surprise the US” (summary by Chan Kai Yee based on the report in Chinese)


China Makes World Most Powerful Laser to Win Star War


China's world most powerful laser stacks

China’s world most powerful laser stack

China's world most powerful laser stacks

China’s world most powerful laser stacks

Liu Xingsheng, China's top laser scientist trained by the United States

Liu Xingsheng, China’s top laser scientist trained by the United States

Scientist Liu Xingsheng holding a laser stack in his hand

Scientist Liu Xingsheng holding a laser stack in his hand

China's laser gun

China’s laser gun

China's laser weapon

China’s laser weapon

War.163.com says in its report “China has made world most powerful laser”, “China has made major breakthrough in developing the core part of a great-power laser, the semiconductor laser stack with the highest power density in the world. It means that China will be invincible in future star war with high-power laser weapon.

In 2010, China marketed its laser stacks on world market at a price lower than main-stream products abroad but with five times greater power.

In 2013, China surprised the world by displaying the indium-free technology developed by China’s top laser scientist Liu Xingsheng in a world exhibition.

The report gives some photos of the laser stacks and the laboratory that develops the stacks but no details about the stacks. It only says that the top scientist in charge of the research Liu Xingsheng gave up his job with an annual salary of US$1 million in the United States to come back to work for China in 2008.

However, the report is honest to admit that to some extent China still lags behind the United States in laser technology.

Anyway, this blogger believes that we shall thank the United States for teaching and training wonderful scientists and engineers for China to catch up with and even surpass the United States.

Source: war.163.com “China has made world most powerful laser” (summary by Chan Kai Yee based on the report in Chinese)


Space Station by 2022 for Chinese Military’s Integrated Space-air Capabilities


In my book Space Era Strategy: The Way China Beats The U.S., I point out that China’s ambitious space program is carried out by its military while in the U.S. its space program is managed by an agency independent from its military.

I list in my book China has surpassed and is surpassing the US in aerospaceplane, hypersonic weapon, anti-satellite (ASAT) capabilities, anti-ASAT system, satellite global positioning syste, drone, AEW&C aircrafts, etc. Most of them are related to space. If the U.S. fails to switch its outdate Air-Sea Battle strategy to focus on space technology, it will certainly be beaten by China by 2022 when China has a large space station as the base for its aerospace bombers.

The following is the full text of Reuters report:

China eyes first space station by around 2022

BEIJING Wed Sep 10, 2014 5:37am EDT

(Reuters) – China expects to establish its first space station by around 2022, building upon the experience of an experimental module already in orbit, state media said on Wednesday.

China’s leaders have set a priority on advancing its space program, with President Xi Jinping calling for the country to establish itself as a space power.

In China’s manned space mission last year, three astronauts spent 15 days in orbit and docked with an experimental space laboratory, the Tiangong (Heavenly Palace) 1.

Yang Liwei, deputy head of China’s Manned Space Agency and also the country’s first man in space, said the follow-up Tiangong 2 was likely to be launched in about 2016.

Then, in around 2018, the core of the space station would be launched with completion set for four years later, the official Xinhua news agency cited Yang as saying.

China has previously said a working space station would be ready by around 2020.

The country insists that its space program is for peaceful purposes.

The U.S. Defense Department has highlighted China’s increasing space capabilities, however, saying China was pursuing activities aimed at preventing its adversaries from using space-based assets during a crisis.

Despite considerable advances, China’s space program still lags those of the United States and Russia.

China must still master launching cargo and fuel via space freighters and recycling air and water for extended manned missions, state media have said.

(Reporting by Ben Blanchard: Editing by Nick Macfie)

Source: Reuters “China eyes first space station by around 2022”

Related book: Chan Kai Yee Space Era Strategy: The Way China Beats The U.S.

Related posts

  • China Developing Freight Spacecraft for Its Space-Air Bombe dated September 3, 2014
  • Emergence of China’s New Integrated Space and Air Force Shocks the World dated June 25, 2014
  • Secrets of the Space Weapons China Will Develop dated June 19, 2014
  • China Shocks the US with its Aerospace Fighter Able to Reach the US in One Hour dated April 25, 2014
  • Xi’s Stress on China’s Space-Air Battle Capability Rouses Widespread Concerns dated April 17, 2014
  • Xi Jinping Counters US Air-Sea Battle with Space-Air Battle dated April 16, 2014

 


China Developing Freight Spacecraft for Its Space-Air Bomber


Picture showing Tianzhou frieght spacecraft connecting with China's space station

Picture showing Tianzhou frieght spacecraft connecting with China’s space station

Since China adopted its integrated space and air strategy in 2004, it has been making great efforts to catch up and surpass the US in space technology.

Its official media Global Times says in its report yesterday that initial sample of its Tianzhou transport space craft has passed evaluation. A Chinese space expert told Global Times reporter that the electronically controlled unmanned freight spacecraft as a whole is advanced in the world.

Freight spacecraft is indispensable for space program as it sends supplies to and brings back scraps from a space station. Tianzhou, however, can conduct the additional task of pushing a space station to a higher orbit with its own fuel. As the height of the orbit of a space station dropped by 1.5 km a year if the orbit is low, Tianzhou will play an important role in maintenance of the orbit of a space station. However, this function is not so important as usually the orbit of a space station is not very low.

However, if the freight spacecraft is a supply ship for a space-air bomber flying at low orbit, the function is indispensable for the bomber to remain in low orbit for a long time.

Tianzhou is a new generation of reusable freight spacecraft that can carry a load of 6 tons, heavier than its Russian and Japanese counterparts.

According to Russian speculation, China plans to develop a strategic bomber that may remain flying for months. Russian expert believes that the bomber has to be nuclear powered. However, if the bomber was sent by a rocket into a low orbit, it can remain in orbit form months. Tianzhou is a perfect freight spacecraft for such strategic space-air bomber. It can provide supplies, weapons, etc. replace crew, and maintain the orbit for such strategic space-air bombers.

On the other hand, China has surpassed the US in its development of hypersonic glide vehicle (HGV). It has successfully tested an HGV with a speed of Mach 10 while the US has only achieved a speed of Mach 5. China and the US both conducted tests of their HGVs recently and failed, but their great efforts in developing such weapons are obvious.

When China has succeeded in developing its Tianzhou freight space craft and HGV weapons, it will have integrated space and air capabilities for attack and defense. Normally, it takes 10 years to master a new technology since the success of the first test. If so, China’s space-air bomber will make US aircraft carrier obsolete in 10 years. There is detailed description of the bomber in my new book Space Era Strategy: The Way China Beats The US. The picture on its cover describes a space-air bomber sinking an entire aircraft carrier battle group in minutes.

Source: Global Times “China’s Tianzhou spacecraft world advanced in connecting with Tiangong space station and can carry load heavier than its Japanese, Russian counterparts” (summary by Chan Kai Yee based on the report in Chinese)

Related posts at tiananmenstremendousachievements wordpress.com:

  • Emergence of China’s New Integrated Space and Air Force Shocks the World dated June 25, 2014
  • Secrets of the Space Weapons China Will Develop dated June 19, 2014
  • China Shocks the US with its Aerospace Fighter Able to Reach the US in One Hour dated April 25, 2014
  • Xi’s Stress on China’s Space-Air Battle Capability Rouses Widespread Concerns dated April 17, 2014
  • Xi Jinping Counters US Air-Sea Battle with Space-Air Battle dated April 16, 2014
  • China’s Anti-satellite (ASAT) Capability dated February 1, 2014