China is preparing to conduct a flight test of a new missile capable of destroying satellites in space, one of Beijing’s most potent asymmetric warfare weapons, reports The Washington Free Beacon.
Test preparations for the Dong Neng-3 anti-satellite missile were detected at a military facility in central China, according to Pentagon officials familiar with reports of the impending test. Intelligence agencies were alerted to the impending test by China’s announcement of air closure zones covering the expected flight path of the DN-3.
Asia watcher Henri Kenhmann reported on his website Eastpendulum.com this week that missile tests were expected from the People’s Liberation Army satellite launch facility known as Jiuquan, located in Inner Mongolia, and a second launch complex at Korla, located in Xinjiang, western China.
Richard Fisher, a China military affairs specialist, said the DN-3 appears to be based on the Kuaizhou-1 (KZ-1) mobile space launch vehicle. Fisher, a senior fellow at the International Assessment and Strategy Center, said the DN-3 could be capable of hitting satellites more than 18,640 miles away in space – more than enough to reach large US surveillance satellites that occupy orbit 186 to 620 miles from earth.
“In late 2016 or by mid-2017, the PLA may test a larger solid fuel mobile space launch vehicle called the KZ-11, with a 2-meter diameter motor similar in size to the new large and multiple warhead armed DF-41 ICBM,” Fisher said.
Another space launcher on a mobile transporter is being developed called the Long March-11 (LM-11). The developmental KZ-11 and LM-11 systems may be used by China to target US Defense Support Program (DSP) early warning satellites, along with high-orbit Global Positioning System (GPS) navigation satellites.
The DN-3 is known as a direct-ascent anti-satellite missile that destroys satellites with a warhead that rams into orbiting systems at high speeds. The DN-3 is also said to have the capability to intercept ballistic missiles in flight.