The survival of critical satellites in any space war scenario is doubtful, so long as the combatants have anti-satellite (ASAT) capabilities remaining, they will use them. Satellite orbits are predictable and it takes a lot of fuel to re-task a satellite to do something in a different orbit.

There are only five global treaties that exist. Out of these, the 1967 Outer Space Treaty is considered to be the most important. However, only one of its provisions (Article IV) directly deals with military activity – it prohibits the placement of weapons of mass destruction in space.

Other facets like the prohibition of destroying or interfering with a satellite are not mentioned. Then there is also no specific law for anti-satellite missiles, directed energy weapons (including lasers), electronic warfare, cyber warfare and dual-use technology, such as on-orbit servicing satellites, etc.

The US Air Force has ASAT missiles that can be launched from high flying fighter and bomber platforms, and the Navy’s new Arleigh Burke Flight III destroyers might be able to do it to.

The U.S. Navy recently achieved several important milestones for the DDG 51 Arleigh Burke-Class Destroyer Flight III upgrade, representing significant progress toward delivering critical Integrated Air and Missile Defense capability to the fleet.

USS Jack H. Lucas (DDG-125)

The DDG 51 Flight III upgrade is centered on the AMDR/SPY-6(V)1 Air and Missile Defense Radar (AMDR) system that provides improved capability over earlier DDG 51 class ships by enabling Flight III ships to simultaneously perform Anti-Air Warfare and Ballistic Missile Defense.  To support this upgrade the Navy is testing and integrating ship systems at existing land-based facilities. Does that defense also include ASAT capability?

USS Jack H. Lucas (DDG 125), the first Flight III under construction, is beginning its own activation and test programs. It carries a missile defense laser as well.

What about the Space Force?

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency has picked three companies to design a nuclear thermal propulsion system that will operate above low Earth orbit in 2025, the U.S. agency announced April 12. …more here. (h/t Claudio)

DARPA believes nuclear-powered propulsion could enable rapid maneuver in space — a capability that is difficult to achieve with current electric and chemical propulsion systems. The agency claims DRACO’s nuclear thermal propulsion, or NTP, system could potentially deliver the high thrust-to-weight ratios of a chemical propulsion system with the high propellent efficiency of an electric system. That would give U.S. military systems the agility the Pentagon wants for cislunar operations.


  1. LL
    Has CCP ever given up any territory claimed or occupied?
    They are as opaque about their goals as the German national socialists were

    • No, they are like an ever-expanding amoeba. Comparing them to the Nazis is apt. Hitler never gave up an inch, only took. Until people took his conquered territory by force. ISIS was like that. Modern Turkey is very much like that.

      • The CCP act just like the muslims.

        With muslims, if they’ve put their foot on it, it’s belongs to them forever, even if they get their dirty arses kicked off of it the second after they put their foot on it. Dar al Islam – the land of Islam. All other lands are Dar al Harb – the lands of War, to be made Islam.

        With Chy-nah, it is similar. You have Chy-nah – the Middle Kingdom, set here by the Celestial Kingdom to rule over the Lower Kingdom and make it the Middle Kingdom. So, well, Joe-Chink sets his slimy foot on a piece of land, it belongs to or is eternally under The Middle Kingdom.

        Don’t trust China, China is asshole.

  2. Always something interesting to think about when I stop by here. Are the capabilities of the laser on the LUCAS known? Also do you think the block 3 is a good enough upgrade to the Burkes? We have lots of them so maybe time for a new cruiser? Im thinking that any countries that have anti satellite weapons have some in the tool shed no one knows about. Including us.

    • We did a blog on the AN/SEQ-3 Laser Weapon System or XN-1 LaWS and its successor systems here on Virtual Mirage a couple of weeks ago. The capabilities are known and a lot is in the public domain. The fact that it’s on the USS Lucas is evidence that there is a log of confidence in it.

      The Block III is almost a cruiser. The CG(X) is still out there, in the ether. The failure of the DDG 1000’s stings so I expect that they USN will lick its wounds, while touting that the DDG 1000/1/2 are not total failure. They’ll toss $10 billion at them to try and make them do something. But they’re not CG’s.

      The current batch of CG’s will be replaced as the Block III and Block III+ (possibly Block IV) Burkes are rolled out. Eventually one might ask what the difference is between a DDG and CG is. It takes a long time for the designs to turn into deployed hulls and with boondoggles like the Zumwalt, the navy has a big sales job to Congress.

      With the pressure that the USN is putting on straight, white, males to leave the navy, one can only wonder who will crew those ships. That and the need for maintenance due to long deployments are the larger problem.

  3. How many DDG 51 Arleigh Burke types could have been built instead of the Littoral ship boondoggle. Not being a sailor by any stretch of imagination, I still wonder why the DDG 51 with a draft of 31′ cannot operate in nearly any waters ships with a draft of 12′-13′ operate?

    • The Burke-Class was designed to be part of the “Blue Water Navy”, and were never thought of as a littoral ship. It has a good sized sonar dome hanging off the bow, and from the planform of the hull, it looks like that’s the lowest point. Wouldn’t want to crunch it in shallow water.

      • The LCS was designed to be a modular ship. Not a bad concept, but it didn’t work worth beans. Most of the modules turned out to be vaporware or simply insufficient for combat. The ship is acoustically so very loud that it’s not acceptable for SPECOPS. I recall telling an admiral that years ago and I was invited to leave the room, which I did. This is before they built even one. They have VERY short legs and need to be unrep’d almost continually if they’re operating at speed. Their crew size was unrealistically small – stupid small for a combat vessel.

        The FREMM (“European multi-purpose frigate”; French: Frégate européenne multi-mission; Italian: Fregata europea multi-missione) is a class of multi-purpose frigates designed by Fincantieri for the navies of Italy and France are now being built at Bath Ironworks, and maybe a second shipyard. We ordered 10. They will do what everyone hoped, unrealistically, that the LCS would do. The FREMM design is good. It’s not a destroyer, but it can defend itself, which the LCS is incapable of doing.

        • PS – The question of how 100% transexual crews (men become women, women become men) will operate in the Jo/Ho Navy of tomorrow remains to be seen.

  4. What are the odds the Chinese already have nuclear devices in orbit? Such a weapon would be perfectly positioned for an EMP, would it not? No launch signature warning?

    • No bet. I really don’t know, though. For an EMP to be most effective, they’d need to de-orbit on command and detonate at a pre-determined altitude and location based on their yield and other related details (cobalt sheath, etc). DRJIM or SiG might want to weigh in. You’d need a lot of them to take out the entire USA, so they’d be selective. Most military applications are hardened against EMP. It takes out civilian infrastructure.

      The question with Jo/Ho is whether they’d launch a counter-strike. Rods from God, nuclear MRV’s from SSBN’s and the land based strike options, etc. The Chinese wouldn’t do it in a mutually assured destruction scenario. But against a whore and a walking corpse, they might.

      Shifting gears, would Jo/Ho use them against conservative regions to take out Americans? That’s more of the question. They could blame China and explain that they don’t have any counter-strike in mind. Would they? Progressive Congressman Swalwell (Chinese Spy and Pelosi acolyte) spoke of it openly when he ran for the presidency. It’s not exactly a secret plan. Conspiracy theories these days have a habit of being operational considerations.

  5. I wonder if the DARPA project is going to be based on the old NERVA concept?
    I’m guessing they won’t be using anything like “Ol Bang Bang” (Orion). 😀

  6. Having a Space Force obviously makes good sense unlike, say, the LCS. Will the Space Force be trans, like the Navy? If so, be prepared for the enemy to die laughing.

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