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Space Warfare capabilities

This is a discussion on Space Warfare capabilities within the Space & Defense Technology forum, part of the Global Defense & Military category; guys i was wondering if u can tell em what country has good space warfare capabilites, and what migth be ...


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Old October 12th, 2004   #1
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Space Warfare capabilities

guys i was wondering if u can tell em what country has good space warfare capabilites, and what migth be in store for us in the future?

interestign article
http://www.techcentralstation.com/100604C.html

The United States Air Force is interested in space warfare. Actually, there's nothing new about that. The late-1950s/early-1960s Project Orion, which I wrote about here, was supposed to produce a fleet of nuclear-powered space battlewagons that would do for the Air Force what nuclear submarines had done for the Navy. For a variety of reasons, Orion never got off the ground (except for a small test craft) and though it may come back at some point, it's of largely historical interest now.

But Orion wasn't the first military space project. As Paul Stares notes in his book, The Militarization of Space: U.S. Policy 1945-1984, interest in reconnaissance satellites goes back to the days immediately after World War II, and it has continued to the present.



But these things come in waves, and the latest Air Force initiative suggests that a new wave of interest is getting under way. As an article in Wired News reports:



"'Air Force Doctrine Document 2-2.1: Counterspace Operations' is an apparent first cut at detailing how U.S. forces might take out an enemy's space capabilities -- and protect America's eyes and ears in orbit. Signed by Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. John Jumper, the unclassified report sketches out who would be in command during a space fight, what American weapons would be used and which targets might be attacked.



"In that way, the report is similar to hundreds of others in the Pentagon's archives. But buried in the report's acronyms and org charts are two striking sentiments, analysts say. First, the document declares that the U.S. Air Force is duty-bound to slap down other countries' space efforts, should the need arise. Then, Counterspace Operations declares that a satellite or ground-control station doesn't have to belong to one of America's enemies in order to get hit."



(Here's a link to the paper.) This has some people unhappy. As one commentator in The Register observes:



"The document doesn't specifically say anything like 'we'll shoot down any neutral satellite we find being used by our adversaries.' But neither does it say, 'whatever we do we must ensure we don't shoot down any neutral satellite.' It does strongly imply throughout that destroying, disabling or interdicting non-combatant space assets is something that may have to be done, after giving due considerations to all of the consequences. So we have here the Air Force outlining the Bush doctrine in space, alongside the extension of Article 51 of the UN Charter to extraterrestrial matters."



Actually, there's never been much doubt that Article 51 of the UN Charter (which authorizes force in self-defense) extends to outer space. Nor, despite the occasional assertion to the contrary by uninformed commentators, does the 1967 Outer Space Treaty forbid militarization -- or military action -- in outer space. Rather, the Treaty's text merely forbids the placing of nuclear weapons "or any other kinds of weapons of mass destruction" in orbit, and the establishment of military bases or fortifications on the Moon and other celestial bodies. None of this poses any barrier to the Air Force's plans.



No doubt there will be specious arguments of illegality made, on the popular assumption that anything the United States wants to do must offend international law. But I don't plan to waste more pixels on that nonissue here.



A more important question is this one: Even if it's legal, is this approach a good idea? On that question, my views are less firm, and there's probably considerable room for discussion.



The United States is the world's biggest user of satellite services, both civilian and military -- but especially military. This puts us in a unique position. We have the strongest incentive to protect this sort of thing, and to maintain our lead, but we're also the most vulnerable. Space assets serve as an enormously important force multiplier for the U.S. Knock out every satellite in orbit and the United States military will suffer a considerable degradation in effectiveness; the Chinese military, or even the French, will lose much less.



Yet matters are complicated by the growth of dual use, and even covertly military, satellite systems in the hands of other countries. We're learning some things, for example, about Europe's Galileo satellite system that suggest a significant military agenda. According to the Telegraph:



"A series of probing parliamentary questions put last week to the Secretary of State for Defence by a Tory defence spokesman, Gerald Howarth MP, is trying to make the Government come clean about the immense military implications of the EU's proposed Galileo satellite system. This could be the final straw in ending Britain's close defence alliance with the United States.



"The purpose of the multi-billion-euro Galileo project, supported by Britain, is to set up a direct EU rival to the US's GPS (global positioning satellite) system. Until now, Britain has supported the cover story that Galileo, run by the European Commission's energy and transport directorate, is intended purely for civil use.



"But in 2002, the commission admitted in an 'information note' that 'Galileo will underpin the common European defence policy' by giving 'the EU a military capability'.



"Earlier this year, with the potential military uses of Galileo as a rival to the US system in mind, China took a 20 per cent share in the project. Russia and Israel have shown a similar interest."



The thinking, I believe, is that by banding together, these nations make a U.S. effort to deny them (or others) such satellite services less likely. That's a direct blow -- sponsored by the European Union -- at the United States' superior space position, and it seems intended not only to maintain Europe's independence, but more significantly to weaken the United States vis-a-vis the rest of the world.



Is the Air Force paper a response -- and maybe even a threat? As the article in The Register quoted above notes, "as the US tried mightily to persuade Europe it didn't need to build its own GPS system, ten years from now Europe may only have itself to blame, right?"



Unable to rely on a de facto monopoly, I suppose it's inevitable that the United States will put more energy into denying satellite services to its adversaries, as well as protecting its own satellite resources as best it can. I also wonder, though, about the side effects of antisatellite warfare. Unless the targeting is very precise, and unless fratricide from satellite debris is minimal, the damage to other satellites could be significant. And given the global economy's dependence on satellite services, the consequences of that could be substantial.



On the other hand, though talk of "space warfare" calls up images of Star Wars-type space combat, the easiest part of a satellite system to target is usually the ground station. Despite all the talk, we're more likely to see groups of commandoes blowing up dish antennas, or hackers seizing control of computerized control systems, than laser beams and missiles in space. The trouble is, the United States is also more vulnerable to attacks of that sort, since it depends heavily on satellites, and since many adversaries without recourse to missiles and laser beams are entirely capable of these more-ordinary attacks.



It's no wonder the Air Force is thinking about these things. And perhaps the rest of us should be giving them some more thought, too.
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Old October 12th, 2004   #2
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Re: space warfare capabilities

this is another interesting article

http://www.space.com/news/china_dod_030801.html

China appears to be sharpening its war fighting space skills, from creating anti-satellite weaponry, building new classes of heavy-lift and small boosters, as well as improving an array of military space systems.

That judgment comes courtesy of the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) which earlier this week released its annual report to Congress: The Military Power of the People's Republic of China.

The report focuses on the current and probable future course of that country's growing military-technological prowess, including the use of space to assure military advantage.

Anti-satellite laser work

Flagged in the report is China's work in electronic warfare. In particular, the country is procuring state-of-the-art technology to improve its intercept, direction finding, and jamming capabilities. A possible target for the jammers: receivers utilized in the Global Positioning System (GPS) satellite constellation.

The report also underscores China's "robust" research and development program for laser weapons. In 1999, the Chinese displayed a portable laser weapon, advertised for blinding human vision and electro-optical sensors. In addition, a radio-frequency weapons program is likely in place.

"Beijing may have acquired high-energy laser equipment that could be used in the development of ground-based anti-satellite (ASAT) weapons," the DoD report says.

Lightning attacks

This year's report cites a comment from Captain Shen Zhongchang from the Chinese Navy Research Institute. He envisions, according to the DoD, a weaker military defeating a superior one by attacking its space-based communications and surveillance systems.

"The mastery of outer space will be a requisite for military victory, with outer space becoming the new commanding heights for combat," Shen is quoted as saying. He also is quoted in the report as observing that "lightning attacks and powerful first strikes will be more widely used in the future."

In future wars, Shen highlights radar, radio stations, communications facilities, and command ships as priority targets vulnerable to smart weapons, electronic attack, and electromagnetic pulse (EMP) weapons.

Parasitic microsatellites

Improving space-based reconnaissance and surveillance technologies is high on China's agenda. "These systems, when fully deployed, will provide a robust and versatile space reconnaissance capability with regional coverage," the just released DoD report explains.

"Publicly, China opposes the militarization of space and seeks to prevent or slow the development of U.S. anti-satellite (ASAT) systems and space-based missile defenses," the DoD reports states. "Privately, however, China's leaders probably view ASAT systems -- and offensive counterspace systems, in general -- as well as space-based missile defenses as inevitabilities."

Meanwhile, the report adds, China is said to be acquiring a variety of foreign technologies that could be used to develop its own satellite-killing capability.

On this score, China already may possess the ability to damage optical sensors on some spacecraft - at least those vulnerable to laser damage. Ground-based, satellite-blinding laser weaponry is likely being pursued. "Given China's current level of interest in laser technology, Beijing probably could develop a weapon that could destroy satellites in the future," the report notes.

China is also thought on a path toward a direct-ascent ASAT system. This hardware could be fielded in the 2005-2010 timeframe, the DoD asserts. Space interceptors can destroy targets in space. Moreover, the report highlights a Hong Kong newspaper account in January 2001 that claimed China had developed and tested an ASAT system using a "parasitic microsatellite." Although the DoD review says this claim cannot be confirmed, it points out that home-grown microsatellite and nanosatellite technologies are being proliferated by a number of nations.

New booster families

In the booster department, China is proceeding with building a new modular family of heavy-lift launchers. Additionally, a new small, solid-propellant space lifter is being developed. A family of these smaller boosters would provide China the ability to hurl small satellites into orbit. This class of booster would give China a rapid launch capability, "and has broad military, civil, and commercial applications," the DoD report observes.

As for China's human spaceflight program, the DoD acknowledges the fact that the country's first manned space mission may occur this year.

"China also has long-term plans to launch its own space station, and possibly a reusable space plane as well. While one of the strongest immediate motivations for this program appears to be political prestige, China's manned space efforts almost certainly will contribute to improved military space systems in the 2010-2020 timeframe," the report concludes.

Lots of action-reaction

In reviewing the DoD report, some Western China watchers don't see anything startling or new in the assessment of Chinese space interests. But the report does wave a cautionary flag, according to one expert.

"Still lots of speculation of what the Chinese might be developing," said Joan Johnson-Freese, chair of the Naval War College’s National Security Decision Making Department in Newport, Rhode Island.

"Regarding space specifically, both countries see space as so vital to their futures," Johnson-Freese told SPACE.com. "Actions by one are seen as nearly zero-sum to the other," she said.

Johnson-Freese said that the Chinese have read the 2001 Report of the Commission to Assess United States National Security Space Management and Organization as suggesting the inevitability that space will become a battleground. Therefore, the U.S. would be remiss not to prepare.

"They also note that in the first U.S. Space War Game in 2001, American forces were pitted against an opponent threatening a small neighbor. Subsequently, the Chinese view that they would be remiss not to prepare for the inevitability of U.S. development of space weapons."

There are lots of "inevitabilities" in both U.S. and China camps, Johnson-Freese said, that were not considered inevitabilities five years ago. "Lots of action-reaction on both sides," she added.

Targets for preemption

Dean Cheng, Research Analyst with Project Asia at the CNA Corporation in Washington, D.C., has also perused the DoD report on China.

"I think that the Second Gulf War highlighted, on the one hand, the dependence of the United States on space-based systems, which China's People's Liberation Army cannot help but notice and note," Cheng said. "Space assets gave U.S. forces a significant edge, and that is something that the Chinese have noticed."

Cheng said the DoD report correctly observes that the Chinese are showing an interest in the topic of physical attack against satellites.

"It would be dangerous and foolhardy, in my opinion, to either ignore such reports, or worse to pooh-pooh them. Given the degree of American reliance on satellite systems, it would behoove us to consider the prospect of attack against our space-based infrastructure from all potential sources, and to explore and, where possible, undertake countermeasures against such possibilities," Cheng told SPACE.com.

As the DoD report notes, Cheng said, "the Chinese have highlighted space systems as targets for preemption. That should only make us pay more attention to improving the survivability of the American space force."
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Old October 13th, 2004   #3
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hmmm...cold war and star wars are making a come back.
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Old October 13th, 2004   #4
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Re: space warfare capabilities

i partially agree with u neel24neo,
star warsis defintiely making a comeback

THE REST OFTHIS SHOULD NOTBE REPLIED TO IF U WANT TO ARGUE IT PLEASE MAKE NEW THREAD, THIS THREAD REGARDS SPACE WARS, NOTHING ELSE
but the global geopolitical situation and world order that emerged from the collapse of the USSR is changing, and the rateof change itself is accelerative but who is the new american nemasis, u can't certainly say china
i think the world is gradually returing to a multi power globe
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Old October 14th, 2004   #5
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does anybody have more information on ASAT weapons?i heard russian mig-31s had been operational with ASAT missiles...
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Old October 14th, 2004   #6
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Re: space warfare capabilities

well they are cheap i hear,
ialso hear the chineses have a good asatcapabiltiy
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Old October 14th, 2004   #7
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Re: space warfare capabilities

Well, the thing about ASAT's is, what are you going after? AFAIK, an ASAT launched from the ground or a fighter can reach LEO, but it can't get anywhere near a GEO sat. This was one reason the US puts critical sats in GEO orbits whenever we can. (GPS and communications for example).

The US has ASAT tech for both, but last I knew, treaties prevented us from testing the systems. Most of our focus in research was in countering LEO's because that's where the targets were (USSR sats). We did develop designs for "killer sats", that could take out GEO targets, but I don't think any were actually built.
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Old October 14th, 2004   #8
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Re: space warfare capabilities

i heard that one prototype was secretly built during the coldwar but ti was nt tested, but that is still specualtion
i am sure they are building one now,(like a black project) although evidence is minimal
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Old October 15th, 2004   #9
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Re: space warfare capabilities

Real Star War
US Satelite killer


VS

China satelite killer


Who will win?
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Old October 15th, 2004   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Aegis
Real Star War
US Satelite killer


VS

China satelite killer


Who will win?
Well...... if your basing this on Star Wars spec then US will win.
But the tide could always turn etc, the x-wing probably cost more while the tie is cheap and can mass.
So i guess it's Quality vs. Quantity.........
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Old October 15th, 2004   #11
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us model is excatly like the one in star wars(movie)
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Old October 15th, 2004   #12
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guys can we please GET BACK TO REALITY
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Old October 15th, 2004   #13
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Re: space warfare capabilities

Quote:
Originally Posted by redsoulja
guys can we please GET BACK TO REALITY
Heh! Is good to relax and joke a bit! Help us to lossen up the tension in heat arguement!
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Old October 15th, 2004   #14
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Re: space warfare capabilities

sadly there wasnt much debate on this issue
only a few participated
man if i somehow added india and pakistan in tehre the numbr of replies and views would increase

but i want to keep it to the topic
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Old October 16th, 2004   #15
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Re: space warfare capabilities

Quote:
Originally Posted by Aegis
Quote:
Originally Posted by redsoulja
guys can we please GET BACK TO REALITY
Heh! Is good to relax and joke a bit! Help us to lossen up the tension in heat arguement!
But dont make jokes a habit around here, cuz you may just end up with a nice 'ban'. This is a serious forum for serious defense related discussion. There is a 'jokes' thread in Social and Political Forums area, so joke all you want over there and dont ruin serious discussions. No personal offence.
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