Recently published satellite imagery shows that China may have built a large-capacity laser weapons facility in Xinjiang to shoot down satellites outside orbit.
The facility was discovered by Colonel Vinayak Bhat, retired Indian army officer, a satellite image analyst specializing in China , the Washington Free Beacon said. The facility is located in western Xinjiang, along with other high-tech weapons bases.
The anti-satellite laser station is located near a lake, about 233 km south of Urumqi, the capital of Xinjiang. The facility consists of four main buildings with mobile roofs, Bhat said, containing a large-capacity chemical laser system provided by neodymium (rare earth metals).
Bhat added that smaller warehouses also have a mobile roof, which contains a laser tracking system. All systems are connected, allowing China to fire one to three lasers into the flying satellite they want to destroy.
China is using satellite tracking stations scattered across the country as a means to identify and target lasers. “Once accurate satellite navigation and other data are connected, directional energy weapons in five different locations can take on the attack,” Bhat said.
Laser projectors each US satellite
Earlier, in a report published by the US Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) in February, China could deploy a laser cannon on the ground next year. The report said China may have been able to limit the destruction of sensors on satellites with lasers.
|The base satellite image believed to contain a laser weapon could shoot down China’s satellite in Xinjiang. Photo: Twitter / Raj.|
“By 2020, China will be able to manufacture laser weapons on the ground to destroy satellite sensors operating at low orbit. It can create higher energy systems to expand the threat to non-optical satellite structures, ”says DIA’s Space Security Challenges report .
DIA adds directional energy weapons that can be used to damage or destroy opponents’ equipment and vehicles. These weapons may cause temporary or permanent damage to the target. Especially the identification of the source of the attack is very difficult.
It is not yet possible to determine whether the base in Xinjiang was the place where the laser saturated US satellites in August and September 2006. Laser projection is done when the satellite passes through China.
Ian Easton, an analyst with China at Project Institute 2049, said that US satellites are very vulnerable to Chinese anti-satellite weapons. The United States is operating nearly half of the 270 orbiting military satellites, and hundreds of commercial and civil satellites that can be used for military purposes.
“China has clearly tested and deployed at least one large anti-satellite laser weapon on the ground. It can be used to target satellites operating in low orbit. Beijing is also developing submarine anti-satellite missiles, which can attack American satellites in geostationary orbits, “Easton said.
Testing EMP weapons
In addition to the large mobile sheltered warehouses suspected of containing laser weapons, the Xinjiang facility also has strange devices that Mr. Bhat identified as electromagnetic pulse weapons (EMP). Satellite images show a long row of columns lined up into a large transmitter.
“This facility can be used to protect Chinese military equipment and strike back into enemy electronic devices with electromagnetic pulses,” Bhat said.
Electromagnetic pulses are often made from nuclear explosions, solar radiation can destroy electronic devices at a distance of thousands of kilometers. In addition, there is a portable pulse generator in Xinjiang, an electronic warfare system used to interfere with satellite communications.
In a statement, the Chinese military said it did “blind” a satellite in 2005 using lasers with a capacity of 50-100 kW fired from Xinjiang. Advanced technologies and equipment developing at the base in Xinjiang could be used to fight the US in the future conflict.