China tests new missile to destroy US satellites

Beijing has the upper hand in space warfare? Dong Neng-3 exoatmospheric vehicle test shows China has crippling new weapon.

Ari Yashar ,

Satellite (illustration)
Satellite (illustration)

China has conducted a test of an advanced new missile that could knock out US satellites and wreak havoc to the American defense industry, indicating Beijing is gaining the upper hand in space warfare.

Two defense officials familiar with reports of the test revealed to Washington Free Beacon on Monday that the test of a Dong Neng-3 exoatmospheric vehicle took place on October 30, and was conducted from the Korla Missile Test Complex in western China.

While Chinese press claimed the test was of a missile defense interceptor, the officials revealed the missile is a direct-ascent type meant to take out satellites.

US State Department and Pentagon officials declined to comment on the test to the paper.

Chinese media site reported on November 1 regarding the unusual contrails near the city of Korla in Xinjiang province from the test, stating that they seemed to be signs of "a midcourse anti-missile test."

Days later on November 4, Ming Pao of Hong Kong reported that a "final-phase missile interception test had been conducted in the upper atmosphere.”

“The capability to intercept was one of the capabilities of the PRC Hongqi-19 missile, and may be employed to intercept high supersonic gliding targets on the offensive,” reported the paper.

Washington Free Beacon revealed that a forthcoming report by the US-China Economic and Security Review Commission in Congress clarifies that the Chinese tests of supposed anti-missile defense systems, such as the one in the new test, are indeed meant to shoot down satellites.

The report reveals that China has conducted no less than seven anti-satellite missile tests; the new DN-3 test would bring that total up to eight.