Thursday, February 22, 2018

Russia and China Will Have Operational Anti Satellite Weapons in the Next Few Years

Experts have warned for some time that wars in space are not just Hollywood fiction. And the scenario appears increasingly more likely, according to the latest analysis by the U.S. intelligence community.

“We assess that, if a future conflict were to occur involving Russia or China, either country would justify attacks against U.S. and allied satellites as necessary to offset any perceived U.S. military advantage derived from military, civil or commercial space systems,” warns the 2018 Worldwide Threat Assessment of the U.S. Intelligence Community, released this week by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence.

The United States has benefitted from a tidal wave of innovation in the space industry, but so have many other nations. “Foreign countries — particularly China and Russia — will continue to expand their space-based reconnaissance, communications, and navigation systems in terms of the numbers of satellites, the breadth of their capability, and the applications for use,” said the report.

Both Russia and China continue to pursue anti-satellite weapons knowing that, if successfully employed, could undermine U.S. military capabilities, analysts noted. “Russia and China aim to have nondestructive and destructive counter-space weapons available for use during a potential future conflict.”

U.S. intelligence predicts that “destructive” Russian and Chinese anti-satellite weapons probably will reach “initial operational capability in the next few years.” China’s military is setting up specialized units and has begun “initial operational training with counter-space capabilities that it has been developing, such as ground-launched anti-satellite missiles.”

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