A recent revelation suggests that a covert lab within the state-owned China Electronics Technology Group Corporation has conducted simulations envisioning potential attacks on US warships using space weapons and hypersonic missiles.
The research, published by the South China Morning Post, sheds light on the Science and Technology on Electronic Information Control Laboratory based in Chengdu, which specializes in developing electronic warfare equipment for the Chinese military. The laboratory’s simulation involves a scenario where the People’s Liberation Army catches a US warship off guard by combining electronic warfare tactics and cutting-edge hypersonic missiles. This is part of a series of exercises conducted by various labs, including one by the North University of China last year, attempting to overwhelm American naval fleets with hypersonic missile barrages.
In their simulation, the researchers focused on how the US military detects missiles, mainly using the SPY-1D radar found on Arleigh Burke-class destroyers. The lab proposed a strategy involving two satellites to suppress the radar from different angles, creating “false alerts” and misleading the targeted ships.
The simulation assumes a coordinated effort involving warplanes, hypersonic missiles with a range advantage, and strategically positioned satellites. The Chinese military, in this hypothetical scenario, could fire hypersonic missiles from a greater distance than the combat range of a US aircraft carrier, utilizing satellites to suppress radar detection. The electronic warfare systems on these satellites would keep the carriers under false alerts, allowing the hypersonic missiles to approach within striking distance. The simulation concludes with the successful neutralization of the targets using terminal maneuvers by the hypersonic missiles.
The researchers assert that merely three satellites in low Earth orbit would be adequate for such an attack, while 28 satellites could potentially execute a global strike. These satellites, positioned in lower orbits, require less sensitive receivers and transmitter power. The proximity of the satellites minimizes signal loss, effectively countering the SPY-1D radar.
Despite the detailed simulation, the lab did not disclose specifics regarding the platforms for launching hypersonic missiles or the specific missiles employed. According to the South China Morning Post report, the revelation raises concerns for the US, which plans to use the SPY-1D radar until 2060.
China’s exploration of space-based deployment strategies for hypersonic missiles introduces a global dimension to electronic warfare, expanding the potential combat range and raising strategic challenges for adversaries.