Pentagon would attack EU satellites in wartime

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dave_uk

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http://www.thebusinessonline.com/modules/news/view.php?id=23925<br /><br />SENIOR Pentagon officials have warned Brussels that they will not hesitate to blow European Union satellites out of the sky if they are used against America by a hostile power such as China, The Business can reveal.<br /><br />In an astonishing confrontation at a private conference between the United States and the European Union (EU), European delegates insisted they would not be prepared to turn off or jam signals from their proposed Galileo navigation satellites, even if they were being used in a war against the US. In response, the US delegates replied that they understood this and intended - if faced with such a threat - to take whatever action they felt appropriate.<br /><br />Earlier this month, the EU announced that China had become a partner in its E3.5bn ($4.4bn, £2.4bn) Galileo satellite system. The state of Pentagon thinking on Galileo is confirmed in a US Air Force doctrine document obtained by The Business, issued on 2 August 2004. In a foreword, Peter Teets, under-secretary of the US Air Force, asks: "What will we do 10 years from now when American lives are put at risk because an adversary chooses to leverage the global positioning system of perhaps the Galileo constellation to attack American forces with precision?"<br /><br />The conference, on the "Future of Transatlantic Military Space Relations", was held at London's Royal United Services Institute, this month. A senior European delegate said: "The Americans were very calm. They made it clear that they would attempt what they called reversible action, but, if necessary, they would use irreversible action."<br /><br />The US would first try unilaterally to jam Gallileo's signals, but if this failed it would use attack satellites to destroy one or all of its units, in an unprecedented Star Wars-style raid.<br /><br />Galileo is a joint European
 
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arobie

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Why even risk hostilities with the EU!? <br /><br />Sounds to me like the US is being a bunch of babies. We uses satellites all the time in military activity.<br /><br />If we can't take it, don't dish it. <img src="/images/icons/mad.gif" />
 
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sinwisher

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The EU is supposed to be our allies. Any attack on Taiwan would be a blatant violation of UN resolutions (that the EU touts so much), aside from the fact that you apparently have no problem w/ our "supposed" allies allowing our enemies to use their satellites against us. A war w/ China, even over Taiwan, would definetely escalate into Chinese attacks (or attempts) on American soil. I have a serious problem w/ that. If the EU wants to use it for their own defense measures ...so be it. But do not supply our enemies w/ a means to strike us. Would you feel the same way if they were allowing Iran to use it, or 15 years ago the USSR. Consider things before you open your mouth.
 
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a_lost_packet_

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If EU satellites became a military intelligence asset of a hostile nation then they are acceptable military targets during any conflict.<br /><br />So, if a nation doesn't want <b>their</b> resource destroyed down to it's component parts, they had better be cautious about whom they allow to use it.<br /><br />That goes for any nation, anywhere, anytime. <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <font size="1">I put on my robe and wizard hat...</font> </div>
 
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najab

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><i>So, if a nation doesn't want their resource destroyed down to it's component parts, they had better be cautious about whom they allow to use it. That goes for any nation, anywhere, anytime.</i><p>So I guess the US should attack and destroy the GPS system, since I am 100% sure that Al Queda uses it to navigate and find hidden weapons caches in Afghanistan.<p>Quite simply, the US is upset because the EU is breaking their dependance on the GPS. They have <b>never</b> been in favour of the Galileo system and have tried to block it at every turn. I suspect the main reason they are opposed to it (other than the leverage GPS currently gives them against EU countries) is the fact that, like GLONASS, it is technically superior to GPS.</p></p>
 
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yurkin

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Personally I’m not a fan of blasting their satellites. <br />It would create a lot of space debris. An emp warhead would be environmentally friendly and even more effective. <img src="/images/icons/smile.gif" /><br /><br />Isn’t this something of an empty threat? I mean apart from hacking or jamming the system what capacity do we have to bring down a satellite. And unless this threat can be backed up there’s little incentive for the EU to shutdown the satellites. I guess we have till 2008 to get something ready.<br />
 
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a_lost_packet_

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You know, you have a good point najab.<br /><br />But, if Galileo edges out GPS as the preferred method of military navigation (and commercial) how will this impact GPS usage in the military? I can see translational problems and such between allies, but these could be corrected for I imagine.<br /><br />How is the Galileo system technically superior? I understand it has a few more satellites but I would assume that is not what you are referring to.<br /><br />So, while I stand behind my comment, in general, it may not be totally applicable in this situation. However, if we found, for instance, that China was totally dependent on Galileo for it's global positioning, Galileo would then, by necessity, become a viable target. However, allies dependent on the system may not be amused.<br /><br />If China utilized the Galileo system for military purposes, then the existence of our GPS wouldn't be an issue except for generally localized purposes. Missile guidance and similar uses would, of necessity, have to have their location systems completely revamped. Of course, that is just an assumption. If it was compartmentalized appropriately, maybe it would be something as simple as changing a program and sliding in a new chip from a stockpile?<br /><br /><br /> <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <font size="1">I put on my robe and wizard hat...</font> </div>
 
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Aetius

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Dave, if a shooting war ever starts between the PRC and the USA, quit worrying about Galileo. I would be more concerned about the effect of hundreds of detonating nuclear warheads.<br /><br />Fortunately, I don't honestly believe any longer that an armed conflict between China and America will happen. We both have too much to lose.<br /><br />As for the Galileo navigation system, if it is used by an enemy of the United States it becomes a viable target of the Pentagon during wartime. Actions have consequences, however, and I'm sure the EU would retaliate in a number of ways.<br /><br />I don't honestly think that during a shooting war with China, American policymakers will be concerned with eliminating the competitor to GPS for economic reasons.
 
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qzzq

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Aetius posted: --<i>Dave, if a shooting war ever starts between the PRC and the USA, quit worrying about Galileo. I would be more concerned about the effect of hundreds of detonating nuclear warheads.</i><br /><br />Exactly.<br /><br />China's response at Space Daily: <ul type="square"> China Slams As 'Absurd' Idea That EU Satellite Cooperation Is Military<br /><br />China Tuesday slammed as "absurd" the idea that its satellite cooperation with Europe could have military uses, after reports the United States might shoot down the satellites in wartime.<br /><br />"As for reports that this plan will be devoted to military use, I think this kind of accusation is quite absurd and ridiculous," foreign ministry spokeswoman Zhang Qiyue told a regular briefing.<br /><br />Galileo, a constellation of 30 satellites and ground stations due to go into operation in 2008, is being launched by the European Union and the European Space Agency to tap into a growing market of global satellite positioning.<br /><br />China last month became a partner in the Galileo program, which could help provide services such as communications for the 2008 Beijing Olympics but also has applications for strategic military use.<br /><br />Zhang was asked to comment on a report in British newspaper The Business Weekly on Sunday that the United States could attack the planned network if it was used by a hostile power such as China.<br /><br />"I have taken note of relevant reports and I can say clearly that the Galileo plan between China and the EU is civilian," Zhang said.</ul> <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <p> </p><p>***</p> </div>
 
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najab

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><i>How is the Galileo system technically superior? I understand it has a few more satellites but I would assume that is not what you are referring to. </i><p>As is typical from "a guy on the Internet told me" stories, I don't have the reference any more, but what I've been lead to believe is that GLONASS is operating in a reduced constellation mode since several of the satellites either failed and weren't replaced or aren't working properly. If the constellation was fully populated, it would be possible to get 3-D position fixes which are accurate to +/- 5 metres in civilian mode (and allegedly +/- 30 centimetres in military mode). Also, they orbit their satellites in an orbit with a higher inclination - what this means is that GLONASS coverage is available all the way from the equator to the poles, which you can't do with GPS (at least not with any accuracy).</p>
 
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a_lost_packet_

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Interesting. So, do you think the current GPS system could be upgraded in order to either be competitive or comparable to the European's choice? In other words, is there a way for the US to say "Look, we've got all those things too now!" in order to keep from saying "Go with the competition and get blown out of the sky." ?<br /><br />It's interesting to note how much certain things can be used as leverage. For instance, to us, GPS may be fairly innocuous. However, in a continental struggle between allies arguing over who's system to use, it can get downright confrontational.<br /><br />In considering your earlier point, I can concede that there are probably issues being considered that have little to do with the actual military use of these satellites. Basically, they're threatening "There's always the chance that we may decide to erase your GPS system from the history books if China/adversary uses it in a conflict against us. However, you know we won't down our own birds. You'd better use ours." etc. etc. <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <font size="1">I put on my robe and wizard hat...</font> </div>
 
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tom_hobbes

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Another instance of how to win friends and influence people. <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <p><font size="2" color="#339966"> I wish I could remember<br /> But my selective memory<br /> Won't let me</font><font size="2" color="#99cc00"> </font><font size="3" color="#339966"><font size="2">- </font></font><font size="1" color="#339966">Mark Oliver Everett</font></p><p> </p> </div>
 
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jcdenton

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I don't think China is going to use Galileo as a military asset in an attack. I suspect they're partnering up in the project to gain the know-how behind building these systems so they can build one of their own one day. Relying on another state or entity's technology is not the road to becoming a superpower and China knows this.<br /> <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> </div>
 
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a_lost_packet_

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Very true. China wouldn't have the capability to have increased the accuracy of long range balistic weapons without the knowledge gained from the technology released to them to help jumpstart their space program... I always had a problem with that little trade. :/<br /> <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <font size="1">I put on my robe and wizard hat...</font> </div>
 
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najab

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><i>China wouldn't have the capability to have increased the accuracy of long range balistic weapons without the knowledge gained from the technology released to them to help jumpstart their space program.</i><p>China developed their ballistic missiles long before they got any US help with launch vehicles. Besides, the accuracy of ICBMs is entirely due to the properties of the re-entry vehicle, the booster simply lofts the payload on a sub-orbital trajectory aimed in approximately the right direction. Give me a large enough rubber band and a properly engineered re-entry vehicle and I can hit any target in the world. <img src="/images/icons/wink.gif" /></p>
 
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CalliArcale

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He may be referring to the possible (well, actually *likely*) enhancements to their ICBMs thanks to the release of information about payload fairings released by Lockheed and Boeing in an attempt to speed up work on a launch vehicle, in violation of ITAR. Basically, the information would be useful in improving reentry vehicles, which are important for ICBMs. After all, your warhead has to *survive* reentry in order to work. However, I'm personally skeptical that it will have made that much difference. They've already demonstrated competence with reentry vehicles. At most, it will have helped them to increase capacity.<br /><br />Or, he may be referring to the fact that China's ICBM program really <b>is</b> based on technology released to them to help jumpstart their space program. But it's not US technology. It was the Soviets who released them that information, over forty years ago. They quickly regretted having done so, however, as relations between the two nations soured. Nevertheless, China developed a substantial program from the original technology sold to them in the early 60s, and made a few enhancements of their own. It is now a distinct Chinese technology, despite its Soviet heritage.<br /><br />BTW, don't underestimate the importance of the launch vehicle. Your rubber band does have to be aimed in the right general direction, unless you want your ICBM to orbit for nearly a day waiting to get in the right spot, giving your enemy lots of time to react. And if the launch vehicle fails, the reentry vehicle is entirely a moot point. <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <p> </p><p><font color="#666699"><em>"People assume that time is a strict progression of cause to effect, but actually from a non-linear, non-subjective viewpoint it's more like a big ball of wibbly wobbly . . . timey wimey . . . stuff."</em>  -- The Tenth Doctor, "Blink"</font></p> </div>
 
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najab

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Maybe the rubber band analogy was taking things a <i>bit</i> too far, but I always get annoyed at people who insinuate that China's missile/space program is based on 'stolen' technology. You're correct that Russia played a major role in kickstarting the Chinese space program, but since then they have progressed quite well using indigenous talents.<p>While it's true that the information they got from the US firms would have helped immensely with composite payload fairings, I suspect that this was not as much of a boost to Chinese development efforts as has been made out. Chinese boosters, from what I have seen, appear to follow the Soviet model rather than the American - that is to say "build em big". I don't have access to any information on the design of Chinese nuclear weapons, but I suspect that they are large in comparison to American. This means that their boosters have to be larger as well (as you would be well aware. that is why the Soyuz booster used today is almost identical to the Soviet R-7 ICBM: the first generation of Soviet thermonuclear weapons weighed several tonnes, they simply swapped the nuclear warhead for a manned capsule). If this supposition is correct, then the weight savings of composite payload fairings (getting back to the point) would have allowed an evolutionary increase in Chinese payload capacity, rather than a revolutionary one - as you said yourself.<p>Getting back to re-entry vehicles, they really are the difference between having an effective nuclear deterrant or not. (We'll use something a bit more advanced than a rubber band for this example <img src="/images/icons/wink.gif" />) A reliable booster gets you to the right continent - this is about the stage of the North Korean missile program: they can hit the US (more or less, Canada and Mexico should watch out though, just in case). Add a modestly well designed re-entry vehicle and you can pick the state you want to hit - Iran could be at this stage, though I don't believe they have</p></p>
 
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odysseus145

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Are any other countries planning on putting people in space? ESA or JAXA maybe? <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> </div>
 
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najab

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><i>Are any other countries planning on putting people in space? ESA or JAXA maybe?</i><p>With plans - yes. India, ESA and JAXA all have plans for manned space vehicles. With funding - no. The only countries with funded spaceflight vehicle programs are Russia (Soyuz/Klipper), the USA (Shuttle/CEV) and China (Shenzhou).</p>
 
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najab

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><i>The whole key to delivery systems is accuracy of the guidance systems.</i><p>That is the whole point I was making. The information that China got from Lockheed/Boeing/et al was on payload fairing and solid rocket motor design. Neither of these would help improve the accuracy of Chinese missles.</p>
 
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