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China poses an “immediate threat” to the West in space as it has hundreds of spy satellites pointing at the US and Europe. US General Chance Saltzman warned that Beijing was developing technology to take out crucial American satellites as part of its drive to become the world’s space superpower by 2045.

Already, Beijing has hundreds of spy satellites orbiting the earth in an attempt to keep an eye

“Over the last six months, China conducted 35 launches adding advanced communications and (ISR) satellites to their orbital architecture,” he said in a statement to the Senate Armed Service Subcommittee on Strategic Forces.

“Of China’s over 700 operational satellites in orbit, 347 are People’s Liberation Army intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance platforms providing optical, radar, and radio-frequency capabilities which track the Joint Force worldwide,” General Chance Saltzman warned in a statement given to the Senate Armed Service Subcommittee on Strategic Forces.

He added that over the past six months, China had launched at least 35b satellites with similar capabilities.

Top military brass have repeatedly warned that China was investing heavily in new space technologies which could threaten American supremacy. Some have even compared the moon and Mars to islands in the South China Sea which Beijing has laid claim to.

“Both China and Russia continue to develop, field and deploy a range of weapons aimed at US space capabilities,” the general said.

“The spectrum of threats to US space capabilities includes cyber warfare activities, electronic attack platforms, directed energy lasers designed to blind or damage satellite sensors, ground-to-orbit missiles to destroy satellites and space-to-space orbital engagement systems that can attack US satellites in space.”

General Saltzman added that Beijing and Moscow were acutely aware of the US military’s reliance on satellites for a range of capabilities, something which the adversaries were studying intently.

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He said: “Whether it’s our precision navigation and timing, whether it’s satellite communications, the missile warning that we rely on and the intelligence surveillance and reconnaissance persistence that we have with space capabilities… they know we rely on that and so if they can blind us, if they can interfere with those capabilities, or God forbid, destroy them completely, they know that that will diminish our advantages and put the joint force at risk.

“So I can see interfering with, I can see blinding, I can see some of those grey area kinds of attacks on our capabilities to try and put us behind the eight ball.”

He detailed how Space Force would counter China by changing tactics from relying on large, stationary geosynchronous satellites – which he called “big juicy target[s]” – to deploying networks or “constellations” of smaller, mobile satellites which would be much more difficult for Beijing to target.

Speaking on Russia and China’s goals in advancing space technology, he said: “Both states recognize the advantage space provides the United States.”

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