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China Taps Antisatellite Weapon for Missile Defense: Cable

March 11, 2011 Comments off

China in an early 2010 exercise attempted to intercept a mock enemy missile with the same weapon it had used to shoot down one of its orbiting satellites in a test three years earlier, suggesting the nation’s antisatellite technology was also designed to defend against strategic missiles, the Washington Times reported yesterday (see GSN, Jan. 14, 2010).

The apparent multipurpose nature of China’s SC-19 missile — described in a U.S. State Department communication obtained by the transparency organization WikiLeaks — represents a marked stride in China’s efforts to bolster its armed forces, defense officials said (see GSN, Feb. 7).

“The U.S. Intelligence Community assesses that on 11 January 2010, China launched an SC-19 missile from the Korla Missile Test Complex and successfully intercepted a near-simultaneously launched CSS-X-11 medium-range ballistic missile launched from the Shuangchengzi Space and Missile Center,” the State Department document says.

“An SC-19 was used previously as the payload booster for the January 11, 2007, direct-ascent antisatellite (DA-ASAT) intercept Read more…