China May Have Operational ASAT Program, Reports Say
China appears to have developed at least one and perhaps three direct-ascent anti-satellite (DA-ASAT) programs, one of which appears to have been declared operational, according to a pair of reports issued March 30 on global space threats.
“Chinese DA-ASAT capability against [low Earth orbit] targets is likely mature and may be operationally fielded on mobile launchers,” a report by the Secure World Foundation (SWF) says. “Chinese DA-ASAT capability against deep space targets (medium Earth orbit and geostationary orbit] is likely still in the experimental or development phase, and there is not sufficient evidence to conclude whether it will become an operational capability in the near future.”
The SC-19, also known as the DN-1, is the same kinetic missile that destroyed the Chinese FengYun 1C weather satellite in 2007. The weapon, which appears to be based on the DF-21 road mobile ballistic missile, appears to have been declared operational, according to the SWF report. It was written by Brian Weeden, director of program planning and Victoria Sampson, Washington office director.
The report connects a few dots. In December 2018, the National Air and Space Intelligence Center reported, “China has military units that have begun training with anti-satellite missiles.” And in a statement to the U.S. Senate in January 2019, Director of National Intelligence Daniel Coats said China “has an operational ground-based ASAT missile intended to target low Earth orbit satellites.”
Weeden and Sampson conclude that China has probably deployed those anti-satellite systems to at least some units and developed training for their use. But the SWF notes that it has not been confirmed by public reports.
And a report by the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) adds that records show the Strategic Support Force, established in 2015 to bring outer space, electromagnetic space and cyberspace together under one entity, has begun training specialized units with direct-ascent ASAT weapons that can target satellites in low Earth orbit.
China is also developing other weapons—the DN-2 and DN-3—that could also be used for ASAT purposes or ballistic missile defense. China has not conducted tests that have resulted in debris. But according to the CSIS report, analysts believe that other kinetic physical tests have occurred since the one in 2007. “Missile tests are harder to judge because they could also function as a counterspace capability during times of conflict,” the CSIS report adds.
It's based on my own research done in recent years as hobby and using available information.Is that list in any way exhaustive? Or could there be more silos per brigade or even other, additional brigades operating silo based missiles?
To my knowledge, the DF-4 silo program was a complete disaster that was abandoned pretty much as soon as it was finished. An interesting point: the DF-4 silo still around at Jingyu is used for training, and is an Elevate-to-Launch silo, meaning the entire missile is elevated out of the silo before firing. Sort of like the old Atlas missile silos.It's based on my own research done in recent years as hobby and using available information.
I used different sources for sat images (which I will not reveal), incl the history layer of google earth.
To my knowledge there are 3x6 operational DF-5 silos deployed in three BGD (each brigade operates 6 silos (2 Batt with each 3 Companies)).
I wouldn't bet that I got them all. In order to enhance the survivability of these missiles and confuse recon, the PLARF has constructed a number of decoy silos which consist of shallow holes excavations with headworks that resemble operational silos. So there might be some mix up, considering that the standard of concealment is very high!
Any input would be appreciate.
I know of just one DF-4 silo - it remains questionable whether it was really in use. The "roll out for launch" method was clearly preferred for that type of missile.
The silo covered construction activities at Sundiancun and at Jilantai are most likely intended for DF-41 silo mod.
So it might be that the 662 (ex DF-4) will be the first BGD having the DF-41 silo mod
Never underestimate China’s PLA Rocket Force. As you mentioned the missiles are highly mobile in event of hostilities, and God forbid a Nuclear War. No country can win a Nuclear War vis-a-vis China vs US. There are other Nuclear Powers like Russia (having Many Nuclear missiles in its arsenal), and other small & medium-sized Nuclear Powers like UK, France and even North Korea. If countries desire catastrophes instead of trading peaceful & happiness of their people, then their Armed Forces have to restrained. I believe China’s President Xi is a pragmatic leader, and perhaps we will know In November 2020 whether there is a predictable US President.China's silo forces aren't that large, so the 18 number is probably currently true. They vastly prefer mobile missile brigades.