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China May Be Building a Laser to Target US Satellites

Photonics Spectra
Jan 1999
The Chinese government may be building a high-power laser with the ability to destroy US military satellites hovering over Asia, according to a recent article in The Los Angeles Times.
The newspaper cited a declassified report from the US Department of Defense that provided an "educated prediction" but no conclusive proof of the effort. Sources at the Pentagon said China may have enlisted the help of Russian scientists to help carry out the project.
Such a laser likely would be modeled after the US Army's Mid-Infrared Advanced Chemical Laser (MIRACL) designed to disable enemy satellites in space. MIRACL burns chemicals and relies on mirrors to focus a million-watt energy stream into an 8-ft-wide beam.
The Times said Chinese officials were impressed with the advantages that satellites provided US forces in the Gulf War in 1991. According to the paper, the officials harbored a concern that images and information the satellites provided could be used against them if hostilities ever erupted between China and its neighbors.


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