A research paper published by the Chinese journal Shipboard Electronic Countermeasures in December provides concerning insight into China’s warfare advancements. The paper, published by scientist Liu Shichang, Science and Technology on Electronic Information Control Laboratory, details tests that were conducted to measure the effectiveness of radar-jamming satellites.
During the study, the laboratory simulated attacks on U.S. warships, deploying satellites to intercept and reflect missile detection radar signals back to the ship, the South China Morning Post reported. This allowed simulated hypersonic missiles to launch and strike the ships without detection.
The research documents the first successful trial of radar jamming attempts, primarily due to the inclusion of satellites to mask the missiles. Previous simulations that did not utilize satellites were unsuccessful, with deployed hypersonic missiles detected by U.S. warships before they could reach their target.
During the simulation, researchers worked on the premise that the target ship was utilizing a SPY-1D radar detection system. As hypersonic missiles are capable of flying above detection system range, satellites were utilized to suppress missile detection radars until the missiles reached a range where their own radar-jamming technology took over.
Researchers concluded that this utilization of low-flying satellite clusters would enable a warship to be disabled and destroyed with just three satellites. A network of 28 satellites, researchers proposed, would enable a global attack.
Liu wrote, “Commanding height has always been a pivotal tactic in war since ancient times. With the evolution of the concept of war and the advancement of technology, space has become a new commanding height fiercely contested by the world’s military powers.”
Emerging space-based threats are addressed in a 2023 Defense Department report entitled “Space Policy Review and Strategy on Protection of Satellites.”
“The PLA is developing, testing, and fielding capabilities intended to target U.S. and allied satellites, including electronic warfare to suppress or deceive enemy 3 equipment, ground-based laser systems that can disrupt, degrade, and damage satellite sensors, offensive cyberwarfare capabilities, and direct-ascent anti-satellite (DA-ASAT) missiles that can target satellites in low Earth orbit (LEO),” it states.