Chinese satellites can easily spy on 3 US Navy aircraft carriers

In space, recent images from the Taijing-4 03 satellite, which captured detailed radar images of the US Navy’s Naval Station Norfolk, highlight China’s capabilities.

Beijing has been eyeing US Navy aircraft carriers and warships.

This development highlights China’s growing progress in space surveillance, echoing the historical dynamics of the space race and marking a significant concern for US national security.

The reach of Chinese surveillance extends into space with detailed images of the US naval base

China has reaffirmed itself in multiple areas. At sea, China’s navy has grown to become the world’s largest, helping to support Beijing’s bold territorial claims across the Indo-Pacific. In the air, China has been developing – and perhaps stealing – advanced technology to make fifth-generation platforms. On land, China is developing economic connections across Asia with its Belt and Road Initiative.

China is also imposing itself in space. Recent satellite images demonstrate the growing capabilities of Chinese surveillance technology.

“In a sign of its growing space prowess and surveillance capabilities, radar images of a US Navy base taken by a Chinese satellite are circulating on the Internet,” according to The Eurasian Times. “First appearing on China’s national social media platform Weibo, the spacecraft was later identified by defense analysts as the Taijing-4 03.”

Taijing-4 03 is a flat-plate radar imaging satellite, and the US Navy base that appeared in the satellite images was Naval Station Norfolk.

Aircraft carriers and space

The Chinese presence in space and the corresponding concern of the United States echoes the early days of the space race when the United States and the Soviet Union competed for dominance of the cosmos. So, both sides believed that whoever controlled space would control the world. And while the United States and China are hardly in a Cold War-style space race, China’s improving space surveillance technology is certainly alarming to American officials. Images from Naval Station Norfolk show three aircraft carriers, two Arleigh Burke-class warships and four other unidentifiable vessels.

Norfolk, located in Virginia, on the east coast of the United States, is one of the most important bases of the United States Navy. In fact, it is the largest coastal naval establishment in the world, capable of supporting 75 ships and 134 aircraft with 14 docks and 11 aircraft hangars. Norfolk is understandably an attractive intelligence target since any military action the United States takes against the Chinese would depend substantially on naval power.

The satellite China used to capture the images, Taijing-4 03, is “China’s first commercial Ku-band phased radar imaging satellite,” according to The Eurasian Times. The Taijing satellite series is understood to play a vital role in China’s remote sensing capabilities. Its range of applications includes “environmental and disaster monitoring, natural resource exploration, agricultural yield estimation, and land and sea mapping.” And, of course, spy.

The Taijing-4 03 is believed to be privately manufactured. The satellite’s logo says Mino Space, indicating that the satellite belongs to Beijing Weina Star Technology Company. News outlet CGTN believes the satellite is part of a “five-satellite constellation” used for scientific research and environmental studies. And spy.

Global Times reported that the Taijing-4 03 is equipped with “synthetic aperture radar and artificial intelligence processors, which can perform incursion detection and target identification at sea and airports through real-time image transmission.” With such capabilities, the satellite clearly has immense military potential.

Harrison Kass