Pentagon leaks have revealed US and Taiwanese vulnerabilities to a possible Chinese attack, including threats to US satellites.
China and its capabilities to shoot down satellites
The leaked documents indicate that China possesses anti-satellite weapons (ASAT) with which it could attack and shoot down US satellites in the event of a conflict with Taiwan. In this way, Beijing could affect US communications and intelligence in the region.
China’s last known test of the ASAT system was in 2007. However, a 2020 State Department report claimed that Beijing was advancing the development of missiles and laser weapons aimed at low-orbit satellites.
Anti-satellite nuclear weapons
According to EurAsian Times, China could even count on anti-satellite nuclear weapons. A study by the Northwestern Institute of Nuclear Technology in Xi’an supports this claim, showing that a 10-megaton nuclear missile detonated at an altitude of 80 km could damage a satellite without directly hitting it. This raises US intelligence concerns about Chinese technology that could be more advanced than America’s own.
The Chinese space station and secret developments
China already has its own space station, but whether it houses any kind of weapon or plays a key role in communicating with Chinese satellites is unknown. In addition, Beijing is reportedly developing anti-satellite systems in kinetic physical, non-kinetic physical, electronic, and cyber realms, which could challenge US space superiority.
The unknown of the DEW
The DEW is a non-kinetic, physically directed energy weapon developed by China. Although it is known to exist, its features and capabilities have not been shared. Beijing is working on a space version that could be aboard its space station by 2027, the year some observers predict a possible attack on Taiwan.
If China succeeds in developing and deploying this technology, the United States will not be able to react to a satellite attack without warning.
The Pentagon leaks also reveal that Taiwan could not counter a Chinese attack. Its anti-aircraft defense would not be able to detect the exact location of the Chinese missiles aimed at the island. This information comes from leaked Taiwanese documents, not US intelligence.
the air situation
Pentagon leaks indicate that half of Taiwan’s fighter jets are not fully mission-ready. The situation is so complicated that Taiwan would need at least a week to deploy its warplanes, move them or hide them, which benefits China.
Within a week, the Chinese Air Force could establish control over the entire island, something Russia tried to do in Ukraine but failed.
Conclusions and concerns
The Pentagon leaks reveal troubling vulnerabilities in the United States and Taiwan in a potential conflict with China. China’s ability to attack and shoot down US satellites and advances in technology and weaponry could jeopardize security and stability in the Pacific region.