Loading ...
Sorry, an error occurred while loading the content.

Beijing secretly fires lasers to disable US satellites

Expand Messages
  • Greg Cannon
    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2006/09/26/wchina226.xml Beijing secretly fires lasers to disable US satellites By Francis Harris in
    Message 1 of 1 , Sep 28, 2006
    • 0 Attachment
      http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2006/09/26/wchina226.xml

      Beijing secretly fires lasers to disable US
      satellites
      By Francis Harris in Washington
      (Filed: 26/09/2006)

      China has secretly fired powerful laser weapons
      designed to disable American spy satellites by
      "blinding" their sensitive surveillance devices, it
      was reported yesterday.

      How it works

      The hitherto unreported attacks have been kept secret
      by the Bush administration for fear that it would
      damage attempts to co-opt China in diplomatic
      offensives against North Korea and Iran.

      Sources told the military affairs publication Defense
      News that there had been a fierce internal battle
      within Washington over whether to make the attacks
      public. In the end, the Pentagon's annual assessment
      of the growing Chinese military build-up barely
      mentioned the threat.

      "After a contentious debate, the White House directed
      the Pentagon to limit its concern to one line,"
      Defense News said.

      The document said that China could blind American
      satellites with a ground-based laser firing a beam of
      light to prevent spy photography as they pass over
      China.

      According to senior American officials: "China not
      only has the capability, but has exercised it."
      American satellites like the giant Keyhole craft have
      come under attack "several times" in recent years.

      Although the Chinese tests do not aim to destroy
      American satellites, the laser attacks could make them
      useless over Chinese territory.

      The American military has been so alarmed by the
      Chinese activity that it has begun test attacks
      against its own satellites to determine the severity
      of the threat.

      Satellites are especially vulnerable to attack because
      they have predetermined orbits, allowing an enemy to
      know where they will appear.

      "The Chinese are very strategically minded and are
      extremely active in this arena. They really believe
      all the stuff written in the 1980s about the high
      frontier," said one senior former Pentagon official.

      There has been increasing alarm in parts of the
      American military establishment over China's growing
      military ambitions.

      Military experts have already noted that Chinese
      military expenditure is increasingly designed to
      challenge American military pre-eminence by investing
      in weaponry that can attack key systems such as
      aircraft carriers and satellites.

      At the same time, China is engaged in a large-scale
      espionage effort against American high-tech firms
      working on projects such as the multibillion-pound
      DD(X) destroyer programme.

      Several spy rings have been cracked and the FBI is
      increasing the number of counter-intelligence staff
      tracking the Chinese effort.
    Your message has been successfully submitted and would be delivered to recipients shortly.