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Thread: China Accelerates Missile Tests, Reports AVIATION WEEK

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    Lightbulb China Accelerates Missile Tests, Reports AVIATION WEEK

    China Accelerates Missile Tests, Reports AVIATION WEEK
    Secret new U. S. intelligence about China proves the Chinese are accelerating the test of new medium and long range ballistic missiles, reports AVIATION WEEK, which broke the story on its website, AviationWeek.com, today. The complete story will appear in the April 9 issue of Aviation Week & Space Technology (AW&ST).

    In the story, AVIATION WEEK also reports that China is demonstrating a wide range of new tactics with those missiles. The new Chinese missile development could affect Taiwan and U. S. strategy toward China, especially if China were ever to attack Taiwan. The Chinese tests indicate that China is gaining a much more powerful ability to militarily deter the U.S. or attack U.S. soil or assets such as aircraft carriers at sea.

    Much of this information comes from several U.S. Air Force Defense Support Program (DSP) missile warning spacecraft watching China from geostationary orbit, 22,300 miles above the Earth. The April 9 issue of AW&ST will carry an exclusive report about how the DSP constellation of missile warning satellites monitors not only China, but also Iran, North Korea and other countries. The same spacecraft are also seeing a similar acceleration of Iranian ballistic missile test activity.

    The story quotes Dr. Edward Tagliaferri, a longtime independent consultant to the Air Force and Northrop Grumman on use of the spacecraft, as saying, "Both the Chinese and Iranians have very vigorous test programs. The number of (ballistic missile launch) events we are seeing with DSP are increasing."

    "China's missile testing is surpassing anything since the Soviet Union's missile buildup of the 1960s," John Pike, director of Globalsecurity.org, says in the Aviation Week report. "It is as if China was in near war-time production of missiles ... in what amounts to the largest missile production and test rate seen since the Cold War with the Soviet Union," Pike says.

    Craig Covault, overall Senior Editor for AW&ST, reported the story. Covault has written about 3,000 major articles on space and aeronautics during 34 years at the publication, including extensive reporting on national security space issues. Covault has filed stories from 20 countries and written extensively from Europe, Russia, and Japan. He also has extensive experience across China covering Chinese space and aeronautics. He is a pilot and has flown about 20 major military aircraft including numerous bomber, high performance fighter and command and control aircraft. Covault served as AW&ST's Paris Bureau Chief from 1992-1996.

    The China story is the third significant international defense story to break this year via AVIATION WEEK's newly redesigned website. The January 18 story "Chinese Test Anti-Satellite Weapon" and January 25 story "Iran's Sputnik" were also reported by Covault.

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    Default Re: China Accelerates Missile Tests, Reports AVIATION WEEK

    they ARE in a war-time production.

    ACK. People better wake the hell up. And soon.
    Libertatem Prius!


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    Default Re: China Accelerates Missile Tests, Reports AVIATION WEEK

    U.S. still probing security satellite failure

    Tue Jan 6, 2009 12:48pm EST
    By Andrea Shalal-Esa

    WASHINGTON, Jan 6 (Reuters) - Four months after the newest U.S. missile-warning satellite built by Northrop Grumman Corp (NOC.N: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) failed in orbit, officials are still investigating what happened.

    The classified Defense Support Program satellite known as DSP 23 was launched into geosynchronous orbit in November 2007 but stopped responding to commands in mid-September last year, as first reported by Reuters in November.

    "There's not that much data available," one U.S. defense official said, describing the current investigation as sophisticated, long-distance detective work.

    "You have to go back and recreate what might have been going on," said the official, who asked not to be named because he was not authorized to speak about the program. There may never be "great certitude" about what went wrong, he added.

    Defense officials say possible causes for the failure range from defective parts or software problems, a natural phenomenon like a solar flare, or possibly, although unlikely, debris in space. An intentional attack was also possible, but very unlikely, they said.

    Citing concerns about a toxic fuel tank, the U.S. government last February shot down a smaller classified satellite that failed due to software problems almost immediately after being launched into orbit in December 2006.

    As a result of those software concerns, Lockheed Martin Corp (LMT.N: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) was forced to rewrite code for its Space Based Infrared Satellites (SBIRS) that will succeed the DSP program.

    It was not clear if similar software issues could be behind the latest satellite failure, but officials said that possibility was being closely investigated.

    Northrop declined to comment on the September failure, referring questions to the U.S. Air Force, which owns and operates the satellite. Air Force officials declined to comment.

    FUTURE VULNERABILITY?
    The U.S. government has launched 23 of Northrop's DSP missile-warning satellites since 1970. Two failed to reach orbit and experts estimate that seven are still working, about twice the number needed to watch the entire Earth at once.

    The September failure of the newest DSP satellite raises the possibility that the United States may have gaps in its ability to detect enemy missiles in the future, unless new satellites are launched soon, said analyst Loren Thompson.

    "Everybody expects the oldest satellites to fail, but when you lose your newest satellite, you're taking years off the tail end of how long the constellation is going to be effective," said Thompson, of the private Lexington Institute.

    The first two of Lockheed's SBIRS sensors are in orbit on board other satellites, but the first dedicated satellites are not due to be launched until 2010.

    Lockheed's SBIRS program began in 1996 with the aim of launching the first satellites in 2004 at a cost of $4.2 billion. The program has been restructured several times and its price tag is now seen at well over $11 billion.

    A second defense official, who also asked not to be named, said existing DSP satellites made by Northrop were functioning well and had a "reasonable probability of remaining OK."

    But he acknowledged that the U.S. military preferred higher levels of redundancy in such critical systems, and agreed that the September failure raised the prospect of a gap in coverage, especially if other satellites failed prematurely.

    "Although we have generally done well, spacecraft do get older and sooner or later they fail, or we take action to get them out of the way," said the official, who was not authorized to speak about the satellite program.

    REPLACEMENT SATELLITE
    The Pentagon has already asked Congress for $117 million this fiscal year for a new satellite to hedge against a potential gap in satellite coverage around 2014.

    But the first defense official said he was not convinced about the urgency of the risk and said some might be using the latest satellite failure to secure additional funding for space programs in an increasingly difficult budget environment.

    Several other military space programs focused on improving communications have had their budgets curtailed sharply in recent years by lawmakers and defense officials after encountering technical problems and cost overruns.

    Budget pressures may grow even more severe in coming years, given expensive financial bailouts and mounting bills to replace equipment worn out in Iraq and Afghanistan.

    Both officials said they were concerned that the incoming Obama administration would not make military space programs a big priority, given their high cost and past problems.

    (Reporting by Andrea Shalal-Esa; Editing by Tim Dobbyn)



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    Default Re: China Accelerates Missile Tests, Reports AVIATION WEEK

    Hmmm, just happens over Siberia, sounds familiar...

    U.S., Russian satellites collide in orbit


    Crash creates debris; slight risk to space station, minor impact on Iridium

    msnbc.com staff and news service reports
    updated 4:42 p.m. PT, Wed., Feb. 11, 2009

    CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. - Two big communications satellites collided in the first-ever crash of two intact spacecraft in orbit, shooting out a pair of massive debris clouds and posing a slight risk to the international space station.
    NASA said it will take weeks to determine the full magnitude of the crash, which occurred nearly 500 miles (800 kilometers) over Siberia on Tuesday.
    “We knew this was going to happen eventually,” Mark Matney, an orbital debris scientist at Johnson Space Center in Houston, told The Associated Press.
    NASA believes any risk to the space station and its three astronauts is low. It orbits about 270 miles (430 kilometers) below the collision course. There also should be no danger to the space shuttle set to launch with seven astronauts on Feb. 22 or later, officials said, but that will be re-evaluated in the coming days.
    The collision involved an Iridium commercial satellite, which was launched in 1997, and a Russian satellite launched in 1993 and believed to be nonfunctioning. The Russian satellite was out of control, Matney said.
    The Iridium craft weighed 1,235 pounds (560 kilograms), and the Russian craft nearly a ton.
    Hundreds of pieces of debris
    The U.S. Strategic Command's Space Surveillance Network detected the two debris clouds created by Tuesday's collision. Julie Ziegenhorn, a spokeswoman for the Strategic Command, told msnbc.com that the collision left behind an estimated 600 pieces of debris, but she emphasized that the Pentagon's orbital watchdog had to do "still more characterization" of the collision's potential effect.
    There have been four other cases in which space objects have collided accidentally in orbit, NASA said. But those were considered minor and involved parts of spent rockets or small satellites.
    Nicholas Johnson, an orbital debris expert at the Houston space center, said the risk of damage from Tuesday’s collision is greater for the Hubble Space Telescope and Earth-observing satellites, which are in higher orbit and nearer the debris field.

    At the beginning of this year there were roughly 17,000 pieces of manmade debris orbiting Earth, Johnson said. All those items, at least 4 inches (10 centimeters) in size, are being tracked by the Space Surveillance Network.
    Litter in orbit has increased in recent years, in part because of the deliberate breakups of old satellites. It’s gotten so bad that orbital debris is now the biggest threat to a space shuttle in flight, surpassing the dangers of liftoff and return to Earth.
    Ziegenhorn said the Strategic Command and NASA have been working together to make sure the space station and any shuttles in flight are kept a safe distance away from any encroaching objects. "Manned spaceflight needs are a priority," she said.
    ‘Minimal impact’ on Iridium service
    Iridium Holdings LLC has a system of 65 active satellites which relay calls from portable phones that are about twice the size of a regular mobile phone. It has more than 300,000 subscribers. The U.S. Department of Defense is one of its largest customers.
    In a statement, Iridium said the collision would have "minimal impact" on service.
    "This satellite loss may result in very limited service disruption in the form of brief, occasional outages," the statement said. "Iridium expects to implement a network solution by Friday."
    Company spokeswoman Liz DeCastro told msnbc.com that the interim solution would involve shifting resources to cover affected areas. Within 30 days, Iridium plans to move one of its in-orbit spares into the telecommunications constellation to replace the lost satellite.

    Initially launched by Motorola Inc. in the 1990s, Iridium plunged into bankruptcy in 1999. Private investors relaunched service in 2001.
    Iridium satellites are unusual because their orbit is so low and they move so fast. Most communications satellites are in much higher orbits and don’t move relative to each other, which means collisions are rare.
    Iridium Holdings LLC, is owned by New York-based investment firm Greenhill & Co. through a subsidiary, GHL Acquisition Corp., which is listed on the American Stock Exchange.

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    Default Re: China Accelerates Missile Tests, Reports AVIATION WEEK

    U.S. - Russian communication satellites collide endangering international space station

    February 12th, 2009


    Science, Technology
    By: D. H. Williams @ 7:59 AM - EST

    For the first time two fully intact space objects orbiting 491 miles above Siberia have collided. One was privately owned Iridium communication satellite providing wireless communications. The other is a Russian communication satellite of a unknown or dubious nature. The Russian civil space agency says it was space junk however Russians Space Troops Command says it was a military Cosmos communication satellite launched in 1993.

    The Pentagon and NASA are scrambling to assess the risk to spacecraft and the international space station from hundreds of pieces of debris created in the collision.


    Video: Russia Today






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    Nikita Khrushchev: "We will bury you"
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    “You Americans are so gullible.
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    outright, but we’ll keep feeding you small doses of
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    until you’ll finally wake up and find you already have communism.

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    Default Re: China Accelerates Missile Tests, Reports AVIATION WEEK

    Investigation Of Satellite Collision Needs Days Or Longer: U.S. Spokesman
    The U.S. State Department is in touch with the Russian government on the investigation of a collision in space between a U.S. commercial satellite and a Russian one, which could take days or longer, the U.S. State Department spokesman Rob McInturff told Xinhua on Thursday.

    The U.S. government can not confirm the cause of the collision that happened on Tuesday, whether it was an accident or whether it was preventable, and what can be confirmed is the collision happened between an active U.S. commercial satellite and an inactive Russian satellite, McInturff said.

    He said other governments and commercial companies who have satellites in space can track the debris from the incident and assess the threat to their assets on the Internet at www.spacetrack.org, a public website managed by the U.S. Defense Department.

    McInturff said space experts at the State Department believe there is a very low risk for the debris to fall into Earth, since it will burn up going through the Earth's atmosphere. There is also little chance that the debris could threaten the International Space Station.

    However, he mentioned that experts did comment that the space is getting "increasingly congested." Currently there is no known technology that can collect inactive satellites or debris. All parties who have interest in space have to work on prevention.

    McInturff said during the course of the investigation there could be meetings between U.S. and Russian experts in the future. But whether a meeting would convene, if it does whether it would concentrate on just this one incident or on a broader issue of satellite operation safety, or whether other governments could be invited, are all questions he can not answer.

    He said the State Department has not contacted other governments including China who have assets in space other than Russia. During the investigation the State Department's role is to communicate with related parties, while the Department of Defense and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) take the lead on the technical aspects.

    One satellite owned by Iridium Satellite LLC, which operates a constellation of 66 low Earth orbiting ones that provide mobile voice and data communications globally, collided with a defunct Russian satellite at nearly 790 km over Siberia on Tuesday. The 560-kg Iridium 33 satellite was launched in 1997, while the 900-kg Russian satellite was launched in 1993.

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    Default Re: China Accelerates Missile Tests, Reports AVIATION WEEK

    Pentagon eyes crash analysis on 1,300 satellites

    Wed Nov 4, 2009 7:50am EST












    Pentagon eyes crash analysis on 1,300 satellites
    Tuesday, 3 Nov 2009 06:11pm EST
    By Andrea Shalal-Esa

    WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. military said on Tuesday it is now tracking 800 maneuverable satellites on a daily basis for possible collisions and expects to add 500 more non-maneuvering satellites by year's end.

    The U.S. Air Force began upgrading its ability to predict possible collisions in space after a dead Russian military communications satellite and a commercial U.S. satellite owned by Iridium collided on February 10.

    General Kevin Chilton, commander of U.S. Strategic Command, called the collision the "seminal event" in the satellite industry during the past year and said it destroyed any sense that space was so vast that collisions were highly improbable.

    He said military officials had wanted to do more thorough analysis of possible collisions in space, but had lacked the resources. Before the collision, he said they were tracking less than 100 satellites a day.

    "It's amazing what one collision will do to the resource spigot," he told a space conference in Omaha, Nebraska.

    The crash, which was not predicted by the U.S. military or private tracking groups, underscored the vulnerability of U.S. satellites, which are used for a huge array of military and civilian purposes.

    Chilton said the Air Force was tracking more than 20,000 satellites, spent rocket stages and other objects in space, up from just 14,000 a few years ago.

    But he said that was just what U.S. could "see" and there were estimates that the actual number was much greater, posing a potential threat to satellites on orbit.

    Air Force Lieutenant General Larry James, who heads U.S. Strategic Command's Joint Functional Component Command for Space, told reporters the Air Force met its goal for tracking possible collisions among 800 satellites that have the ability to be moved in September, ahead of an October target date.

    "Our goal now is to do that conjunction assessment for all active satellites ... roughly around 1,300 satellites ... by the end of the year and provide that information to users as required," James told reporters on a teleconference during a space conference in Omaha, Nebraska.

    Some of the 500 satellites still to be assessed cannot be shifted because they do not carry extra fuel that would be needed to move them once in orbit.

    To increase its ability to predict possible collisions, the Air Force has been buying more computers and hiring analysts. It also works with commercial satellite operators to share data collected by their spacecraft and by U.S. government sources.

    Chilton lauded the efforts, but said the work was still too reliant on Air Force analysts and needed further improvement. "We are decades behind where we should be," he said.

    Victoria Samson, with the nonprofit Center for Defense Information, said the Air Force needed more trained operators to do the analyses and the goal of adding 500 more satellites to the analysis might be "somewhat optimistic."

    (Reporting by Andrea Shalal-Esa, editing by Alan Elsner and Chris Wilson)

    © Thomson Reuters 2009 All rights reserved

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    Default Re: China Accelerates Missile Tests, Reports AVIATION WEEK

    Is This China’s Anti-Satellite Laser Weapon Site?





    A well-regarded website devoted to “open source military analysis” believes that the picture, above, is of a Chinese anti-satellite laser weapon. Space security experts aren’t so sure. And besides, they say, the lines between laser research lab, stargazing facility, range finder, and full-on weapon site are really, really blurry.

    In recent years, China’s military has made no secret of its interest in developing space weapons. Back in 2006, China fired lasers at U.S. satellites, possibly blinding the spacecraft for a bit. The following year, Beijing used to a missile to destroy an old weather satellite in orbit. And just this week, the head of China’s air force pledged to militiarize space “in order to protect peace.”

    They certainly are on a fast track to improve their capabilities,” Gen. Kevin Chilton, head of U.S. Strategic Command, tells the Associated Press.

    In a post today, the IMINT & Analysis blog asserted that these rectangular buildings in the Tian Shan mountain range of Xinjiang province could be hiding the next phase of the Chinese arsenal. The Tian Shan facility looks a lot like known Chinese laser research centers, the blog states. Plus, the “camouflaged buildings and robust security measures mark it as a military facility.” All which makes it likely that “some form of high-energy laser system is being deployed” — one that could “dazzle, blind, or destroy a satellite.”

    Yousaf Butt, a staff scientist at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, examined the same images — and reached a different conclusion. “I see no evidence for any high-energy destructive laser ASAT [anti-satellite] facility in what the author has posted, but absence of evidence is not evidence of absence,” he tells Danger Room.

    “I don’t see much to get riled up about,” e-mails Laura Grego, a senior scientist at the Union of Concerned Scientists. For one thing, the shape of the place seems all wrong for a really destructive anti-satellite [ASAT] laser system. To build one, she explains, the Chinese would need “1. a tracking system (at minimum an off-the-shelf type laser coupled with a small diameter mirror) basically a laser ranging system 2. the high powered laser 3. a highly steerable mirror for directing the laser beam onto the satellite.”
    It’s possible that a high powered laser is in the rectangular shed, the ASAT mirror is in the round enclosure, and the tracking system or guide star system is in the smaller rectangular enclosure? I will have to think about it some more, but I don’t see how you would put the ASAT mirror in the rectangular building with a sliding roof, unless the telescope somehow got raised out of it, which seems unlikely. To track a satellite, you need to be able to follow arcs in all sorts of directions and have a pretty clear field of view so I would not expect that kind of mirror to be inside a rectangular building with a sliding roof.
    And even if the place does have some lasers pointing skyward, it doesn’t necessarily make the place a ray gun site. The U.S. Air Force’s Starfire Optical Range shoots lasers into space to get a clear view of objects in space. China’s Anhui Institute of Optics and Fine Mechanics uses lasers to keep track of satellites. Or lasers could be employed to designate targets to more conventional ASAT weapons. “It’s much simpler to have a laser homing seeker on the kill vehicle than to try to make the kill vehicle smart enough to do infrared homing,” notes GlobalSecurity.org director John Pike.

    But here’s the really confusing thing. The lasers could be used for a relatively-benign purpose — and still have military utility, too. Because the Chinese wouldn’t need a high-powered laser to target spacecraft. In 1997, the U.S. fired a weak, 30-watt laser at a satellite, and temporarily blinded it. “It is straightforward to dazzle — and even permanently damage, i.e. blind — imaging satellites with even relatively mediocre power lasers,” Butt writes. “You don’t need a big fancy facility to permanently damage the sensors on imaging satellites.”

    So what exactly is going on at the base in the Tian Shan mountains? Right now, it’s hard to say.

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    Nikita Khrushchev: "We will bury you"
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    “You Americans are so gullible.
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    outright, but we’ll keep feeding you small doses of
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    until you’ll finally wake up and find you already have communism.

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    Default Re: China Accelerates Missile Tests, Reports AVIATION WEEK

    The Missile Miracle In China
    June 26, 2010

    The chatter in China, and military deployments, indicate that the leadership believes they are now able to take Taiwan by force, before the United States can intervene. Such an attack would have to be without warning, because the United States would put forces in the way if there was any indication that an invasion was imminent.

    This development comes as no surprise to those who have been watching military and political developments in China and Taiwan during the past two decades. At the end of the Cold War, China had three million troops on active duty, but their weapons, warships and aircraft were largely 1950s technology. They had no ballistic missiles aimed at Taiwan, because the only missiles China had were equipped with nuclear warheads and aimed at Russia. The Chinese navy had miniscule amphibious forces and little confidence that the Chinese air force could attain air superiority over the Taiwan Straits, so that they could get troops across.

    Twenty years later, the Taiwanese navy has declined while the Chinese force has expanded and been modernized. The Chinese now have nearly as many modern aircraft as Taiwan, and Chinese pilots are much better trained. Amphibious shipping has been greatly expanded, as have airborne forces and army units trained for amphibious landings.

    Perhaps the most important change since 1991 is China's force of precision guided missiles and rockets. China has built many, more accurate and cheaper, short range ballistic missiles. China has created a line of shorter range ballistic and cruise missiles meant for non-nuclear war. China has stationed over 1,200 short range ballistic missiles within range of Taiwan. All of these missiles can be launched in a short period of time, overwhelming Taiwan's small anti-missile defenses, and wrecking airfields, ports and army bases.

    China is also replacing older short range ballistic missiles with GPS guided 406mm missiles, carried in self-propelled rocket launchers. The WS-2 system consists of an 8x8 truck mounting six canisters, each holding a 1.3 ton, 406mm WS-2 rocket. The WS-2 has a max range of 200 kilometers. Warheads can be as large as 200 kilograms (440 pounds), for the 70 kilometers range version. At 200 kilometers, the warhead is about half that size. The warheads use cluster bomb munitions. The WS-3 version has GPS guidance, a smaller warhead and a longer range (over 300 kilometers). This enables the missile to hit targets all over Taiwan. While the original WS-2 rocket was unguided, and could land within 600 meters of the aiming point at maximum range. The WS-3, using GPS or inertial navigation, as well as terminal homing guidance, can take out key installations on Taiwan. The WS-2 is similar to the U.S. 610mm, 1.8 ton ATACMS rocket, which has GPS guidance and a range of 300 kilometers. Each ATACMS rocket costs about a million dollars. The WS-2 rocket probably goes for less than $100,000 each, although the WS-3 probably costs several times that.

    China also continues developing long range cruise missiles, and adapting them to operate from aircraft. The latest missile to get this treatment is the DH-10. This weapon is similar to early U.S. cruise missiles, and has a range of 1,500-3,000 kilometers and uses GPS, along with terrain mapping. The DH-10 was first shown publicly in the recent 60th anniversary of the communists taking control of China, on October 1st. The aircraft carrier version is called the CJ-10. This is believed to be based on some American cruise missile technology.

    China has also developed anti-ship missiles similar to the U.S. Harpoon and French Exocet. But these are only effective on a modern aircraft that can maneuver and are equipped with electronic countermeasures to enable it to get close enough to a well defended target (like a U.S. Navy task force.) China, however, has both old and new aircraft assigned to its naval aviation force.

    In two decades, China has developed a military force that can do one job very well; quickly capture Taiwan. In the same two decades, Taiwan has allowed its defenses to wither, betting the United States will protect them, no matter what.

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    Default Re: China Accelerates Missile Tests, Reports AVIATION WEEK

    So as soon as Israel hits that reactor, watch for China to make it's move.
    Libertatem Prius!


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