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The Chinese threat in space. The opinion of the DIA US
Material posted: Publication date: 16-05-2019
China is developing its space industry, and actively introducing new technologies in the military sphere. This activity becomes a cause for concern in third countries – primarily the United States. Washington is trying to determine the real capabilities of the probable enemy and to predict the likely developments. A direct consequence of this can be interesting reports of the intelligence agencies.

This year, the Intelligence Department of the Ministry of defense (DIA) has published a new report on "Challenges to security in space", dedicated to the challenges and threats in outer space. The document addresses the activities of China, Russia and other countries that could pose a danger to U.S. interests. Consider the data from the report on Chinese space capabilities.


The DIA notes that China is improving its rocket-space system and extends the possibilities in the field of startups. There are 14 types of boosters all the main classes, allowing output loads weighing from several hundred kilograms up to 20-50 t are developing super-heavy carrier with a load of more than 50 tons are Also considering the creation of modular rockets and light media for commercial launches. Examines the concept of the rocket with minimum preparation for flight, which can be interesting to commercial structures and the army.

China has four bases in different parts of the country. In the cities of Beijing and XI'an are two of the control center. All of these objects are used for solving different tasks in space, military, scientific and commercial.

In 2003 China became the third country in the world able to independently carry out manned space flights. By 2022 it is planned to create its own permanent space station of a modular type and involve the foreign organization. Not long ago, China carried out the landing of the automatic station on the moon. By 2025 it is planned to send the natural satellite of the new AMS, and the thirtieth is expected to manned flight.

Satellite constellation

According to the DIA, China has established a large constellation of spacecraft able to solve all main tasks of military and civil nature. With it being intelligence of all kinds, data transfer, navigation, etc.

As of may 2018, China had 124 satellites with a possibility of observation and data collection – this brought him to second place after the United States. Almost half of these devices belongs to the PLA and is responsible for reconnaissance and target designation. The main part of satellites monitors the areas of the Korean Peninsula, Taiwan and southern borders of China.

Existing and future launch vehicles of China

China owns 34 communications satellites, of which 4 are for military use. A group of 28 units of "Beidou" is operated by the army, although available to non-military users. The number of scientific spacecraft has reached 60 units, but belong to the PLA, only a few such products. Other uses of civil research organizations.

It is noted that China has successfully mastered the production of its own spacecraft for different purposes. Technology is available for military and civilian use. In the case of commercial samples are widely used available technologies and components, which positively affects the cost and gives certain competitive advantages.

Anti-space defense
China has managed to create an extensive network of optical, radar and other means of monitoring outer space. Different systems from the composition of this network are placed on land, on offshore platforms and in space. Because of this, the Chinese military is able to monitor the situation in orbit, to identify suspicious behavior of spacecraft, the detection of ICBM launches, etc.

The PLA has the means of electronic warfare for suppression of radar communication, satellite navigation, etc. Also have the means to counter enemy electronic warfare. All of these capabilities have already been tested under conditions of military exercises. Continue research and development of new samples.

Launch sites and control centers

RUMO USA has information about the presence of China projects laser countermeasures and the suppression of spacecraft. By 2020 the PLA may receive the first ground-based laser system capable of suppressing the optics of satellites in low orbit. In the second half of the twenties, the expected emergence of more powerful systems that can damage spacecraft without opto-electronic systems.

There is the development of offensive systems for the cyberspace. A similar system is planned to be used both independently and for informational support of direct action armed forces. Possible cyber attacks in a period of threat, hindering the enemy to the expected collision. Also, the PLA is engaged in the exploration of cyberspace, receiving the data of a military nature or engaging in industrial espionage.

Developed orbital spacecraft designed for the inspection and maintenance other space applications. In RUMO believe that such satellites can be used as a weapon. Last was conducted a few experiments of this kind, and in the future new technologies can be implemented in practice.

A few years ago, the PLA has demonstrated that it has a guided missile to engage satellites in low orbits. Currently formed division, which will use such weapons in a real conflict. In 2013, the launch of a camera, flying on a ballistic trajectory and departed from Earth on 30 thousand. Perhaps we are talking about developing an anti-satellite weapon, capable of hitting targets in geostationary orbits.

Insights analysts
In the final part of the report, "Challenges to security in space" is that space becomes an integral part of military and civilian human activity. The benefits in this area remain for the United States, which is an incentive for other countries. In the end, there is not only cooperation but also competition. The main competitors of the USA in space, which considers China and Russia.

The carrier rocket "Changzheng CZ-2F" with manned spacecraft "Shenzhou-9", June 2016

Both rivals USA in the space field continue to Refine their techniques and technology, as well as to look for new ways of development. Work is underway in all major areas and special projects for military use. In certain areas of Moscow and Beijing can mutually cooperate.

China and Russia are considering the space as a complement to "traditional" theatres, which you can use to gain an advantage and win the conflict. As a result, new projects are created, carried out launches, etc.

The authors of the report remind that the number of countries capable of using space for military purposes is growing. Such trends challenge the current "US dominance in space" and are a threat to American activities in this field.

The report of the Intelligence Department of the US Department of defense describes the situation and considering the current capacity of a number of countries, but does not give direct instructions for various structures of Washington and the Pentagon. They will make their own conclusions and then determine the ways of further development of rocket and space technology and "military space" in General.

Kirill Ryabov


Tags: assessment , USA , China , space

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