U.S. and China Vie in Hazy Zone Where Balloons, U.F.O.s and Missiles Fly

by -84 Views

“The Chinese military has written about a range of potential applications for balloons and drones in near space,” he added. “You can intercept communications that you can’t capture from space. You can loiter for longer periods of time over targets, study or interfere with an adversary’s radar, target enemy satellites and help guide strategic weapons.”

Chinese military researchers have warned in recent years of the need to keep the United States from establishing superiority in near space. In 2018, Liberation Army Daily, the official newspaper of the Chinese military, published an article that said, “Near space has become a new battleground in modern warfare.” The same newspaper said in 2020 that “some countries across the world have been accelerating the pace of near-space weapons research,” adding that near-space airships “are not constrained by orbital mechanics and do not need expensive surface launch facilities.”

Chinese military researchers have said that airships could be a potential alternative to satellites, including if satellites are knocked out in war. Last year, China experimented with using rockets to send balloons up to 25 miles above earth.

A part of the Chinese military called the Strategic Support Force most likely oversees near-space programs, said John K. Culver, a former U.S. intelligence analyst on China. It reports directly to the Central Military Commission, whose chairman is Xi Jinping, China’s leader, and is equal to other branches of the military. It supervises space programs, intelligence collection of electronic communications and cyberoperations.

But while Chinese military officials speak anxiously of American expansion into near space, the U.S. government has in reality not paid much attention to that zone, according to current and former U.S. officials. That is partly because the military and intelligence agencies have used space-related budgets to deploy assets into far-flung outer space — for example, the many U.S. government surveillance satellites that circle the globe.

The result is the United States lacks intelligence-gathering and defense capabilities in near space, the current and former officials say.

“We know how to detect them, we know how to track them, and we know how to kill them. We just weren’t looking for them,” said Adm. William E. Gortney, a retired commander of the U.S. Northern Command and the North American Aerospace Defense Command, or NORAD, and a former Navy FA-18 fighter pilot. “This goes to finding our seams and where the enemy resides within those seams.”

Sumber: www.nytimes.com

No More Posts Available.

No more pages to load.