Moscow, Bei­jing de­velop space weapons

The Washington Times Weekly - - National - By Bill Gertz

China and Rus­sia are de­vel­op­ing space weapons and are among sev­eral na­tions work­ing on sys­tems to threaten U.S. satel­lites with lasers or mis­siles, says the di­rec­tor of the De­fense Intelligence Agency.

In Se­nate tes­ti­mony two weeks ago, Army Lt. Gen. Michael Maples for the first time raised Pen­tagon con­cerns about se­cret Chi­nese and Rus­sian space weapons pro­grams.

“Rus­sia and China con­tinue to be the pri­mary states of con­cern re­gard­ing mil­i­tary space and coun­ter­space pro­grams,” Gen. Maples said at the an­nual threat brief­ing of the Se­nate intelligence com­mit­tee.

Gen. Maples said that “sev­eral coun­tries con­tinue to de­velop ca­pa­bil­i­ties that have the po­ten­tial to threaten U.S. space as­sets, and some have al­ready de­ployed sys­tems with in­her­ent anti-satel­lite ca­pa­bil­i­ties, such as satel­lite­track­ing laser range-find­ing de­vices and nu­clear-armed bal­lis­tic mis­siles.”

Other coun­tries are work­ing on im­prov­ing space-ob­ject track­ing and “ki­netic or di­rected en­ergy weapons ca­pa­bil­i­ties.”

Gen. Maples did not dis­cuss the re­ported test­ing of a Chi­nese an­ti­satel­lite laser against a U.S. satel­lite, which trig­gered high-level Bush ad­min­is­tra­tion wor­ries about Bei­jing’s grow­ing space-weapons pro­gram.

U.S. of­fi­cials said de­tails about the Chi­nese anti-satel­lite laser shot re­main clas­si­fied so as not to alert China about U.S. knowl­edge of what intelligence of­fi­cials say may have been a test shot of an an­ti­satel­lite weapon.

China has de­vel­oped sev­eral types of ground-based lasers with Rus­sian and Is­raeli tech­nol­ogy, U.S. of­fi­cials have said.

Rus­sia de­vel­oped anti-satel­lite weapons dur­ing the Cold War, and U.S. of­fi­cials think the Rus­sian mil­i­tary is con­tin­u­ing work on the weapons, which in­clude both an­ti­satel­lite mis­siles and ground­based lasers.

Both Rus­sia and China deny that they are build­ing space weapons and have sought to curb U.S. space de­fenses through a pro­posed in­ter- na­tional ban on weapons in space.

The Air Force in 2004 de­ployed the 76th Space Con­trol Squadron, which can dis­rupt or knock out for­eign satel­lites us­ing elec­tronic jam­mers from the ground.

Na­tions other than Rus­sia and China that have space ca­pa­bil­i­ties in key ar­eas also “will ac­quire mil­i­tary and com­mer­cial space-based as­sets,” Gen. Maples said.

“In­creas­ing lev­els of in­ter­na­tional co­op­er­a­tion, along with the grow­ing num­ber of com­mer­cial space con­sor­tia, is al­low­ing the pro­lif­er­a­tion of ad­vanced satel­lite tech- nolo­gies and knowl­edge of space sys­tem­sop­er­a­tionsto­be­comeavail­able to na­tions lack­ing a do­mes­tic space ca­pa­bil­ity,” he said.

Gen. Maples said that build­ing space weapons is “fi­nan­cially tax­ing” and that “most coun­tries as­sessed to be pur­su­ing th­ese ca­pa­bil­i­ties are not ex­pected to ac­quire them within the next few years.”

He warned, how­ever, that less­de­vel­oped states and “non­state en­ti­ties” also “are pur­su­ing more lim­ited and asym­met­ric ap­proaches that do not re­quire ex­ces­sive fi­nan­cial re­sources or a high-tech in­dus­trial base.”

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.