Mon, Sep 25, 2006 - Page 1 News List

China has tried to blind US spy satellites: report

STAFF WRITER

China not only has the capability of blinding US spy satellites, but it has tried to do so, a weekly defense publication reported on Friday.

Sources told the US-based Defense News that China had "fired high-powered lasers at US spy satellites flying over its territory," but were unable to confirm when and how many times such attacks had taken place, or whether they had been successful.

The sources did not explain when the attacks first took place, but said that there had been several attacks over the past few years, Defense News said.

"Lasers of sufficient power could blind electro-optical satellites" such as some of the types used by the US military, the report said.

The report also said that US military officials had not expressed alarm at the attacks, describing them as a "predictable and understandable" part of efforts to counter the US' space advantage.

Details of the attacks have not been made public because of efforts by the Bush administration to "not anger Beijing," the newspaper reported.

The US currently has "three large optical reconnaissance satellites of the three-decade[s]-old Keyhole-series by Lockheed Martin. The loss of any would hurt US space capabilities," sources told Defense News.

The weekly quoted sources as saying that the anti-satellite capabilities were evidence of China's focus on an asymmetric military strategy in the event of a conflict with the US.

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