China and Russia are attacking US satellites with enormous regularity, a senior US general has said, sending “a message” to the nation DC.
A Space Force general says China and Russia are attacking US satellites “every single day”.
While America’s adversaries make headlines from time to time for their space activities – such as Russia flying one of its own satellites or China testing new orbital hypersonic missile – General David Thompson, Vice Chief of Space Operations for the Space Force Washington Post That overhead, out of sight of the public, was a relentless battle being waged.
According to General Thompson, America’s adversaries are operating continuously Against American satellites that cross the line between intelligence gathering and acts of war, and that the pace of conflict is accelerating.
“The threats are really increasing and increasing every single day,” he said.
“And it’s really an evolution of activity that’s been happening over a long period of time. We’re really now at the point where there are so many ways to endanger our space systems.”
The Space Force is currently dealing with “reversible attacks” — non-kinetic attacks that do not permanently damage the satellite such as lasers, radio frequency jammers and hacking, General Thompson said.
He would not say whether China or Russia attacked a US military satellite in a way that caused serious damage.
General Thompson told the newspaper that China was rapidly developing new technologies and could overtake the US as the number one space power by the end of the decade.
“The Chinese are really far ahead [of Russia],” he said. “They are fielding operational systems at an unbelievable rate.”
China has developed ground-based systems such as lasers that can target satellites, and both China and Russia are reportedly developing satellites that can attack other satellites.
So-called “space stalker” satellites can physically interfere with others, according to Brian Chow, an independent space policy analyst who spent 25 years at the RAND Corp think tank.
With robotic arms, “they can chase down a rival satellite and move it elsewhere, or twist the antenna” to render it useless, Mr Chou told AFP earlier this month.
Last year, Space Force chief General Jay Raymond revealed that two Russian satellites were chasing a US spy satellite.
While it was not clear whether the Kosmos satellites have the capability to strike USA-245, “it has the potential to create dangerous conditions in space”, General Raymond said.
According to General Thompson, a similar incident happened in 2019, when Russia deployed a small satellite so close to a US “national security satellite” that the US was not sure whether it was attacking.
The Russian satellite then retreated and conducted a weapon test, releasing a target and then shooting it down with a projectile.
“It maneuvers close, it maneuvers dangerously, it maneuvers dangerously so that they are coming close enough to worry about collisions,” he said. Washington Post,
“So clearly, the Russians were sending us a message.”
Meanwhile, China is launching satellites into space at twice the rate of the US and already has several hundred intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance satellites around the world.
“We are still the best in the world, clearly in terms of capacity. They are catching on quickly,” he said. “We should be worried by the end of this decade if we don’t adapt.”
Last month, Russia was labeled “reckless” and “irresponsible” after launching a missile from Earth and destroying one of its own satellites.
“This shows that Russia is now developing new weapons systems that can shoot down satellites,” NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said.
Countries are deeply secretive about their military space activities, and because many of the technologies involved are dual-use – useful for both civilian and defense purposes – their capabilities are not entirely clear.
But the race is such that until 2019, the year the Pentagon established its space force, it thought Russia and China had the potential to outdo the US.
“Maintaining American dominance in that domain is now the mission of the United States Space Force,” said then-Secretary of Defense Mark Esper.
— AFP. with