China advancing laser weapons program
Technology equals or surpasses U.S. capability

Posted: November 22, 1999
1:00 am Eastern
By Jon Dougherty

Not only is the Chinese military advancing rapidly in the field of anti-satellite, anti-missile laser weapon technology, but its technology equals or surpasses U.S. laser weapons capabilities currently under development, informed sources have told WorldNetDaily.

According to Mark Stokes, a military author specializing in Chinese weapons development, Beijing's efforts to harness laser weapons technology began in the 1960s, under a program called Project 640-3, sanctioned by Chairman Mao Zedong. The Chinese, he said, renamed the project the "863 Program" in 1979, after a Chinese researcher named Sun Wanlin convinced the Central Military Commission "to maintain the pace and even raise the priority of laser development" in 1979.

Today, Beijing's effort to develop laser technology encompasses over "10,000 personnel -- including 3,000 engineers in 300 scientific research organizations -- with nearly 40 percent of China's laser research and development (R & D) devoted to military applications," Stokes wrote in an analytical paper provided to WorldNetDaily.

China's "DEW (Directed Energy Weapons) research (is) part of a larger class of weapons known to the Chinese as 'new concept weapons' (xin gainian wuqi), which include high power lasers, high power microwaves, railguns, coil guns, (and) particle beam weapons," Stokes said. "The two most important organizations involved in R&D of DEW are the China Academy of Sciences and the Commission of Science, Technology and Industry for National Defense (COSTIND)."

To underscore Beijing's fixation with laser weaponry, the Hong Kong Standard reported Nov. 15 that the Chinese have developed a laser-based anti-missile, anti-satellite system.

"China's system shoots a laser beam that destroys the [guidance systems] and causes the projectile to fall harmlessly to the ground," the paper said.

The report also noted that Beijing had "conducted tests of its new technology since August 1999," and said the system was "similar to the laser defense system technology being developed by the U.S. Air Force."

Rick Fischer, a congressional Chinese military hardware expert, told WorldNetDaily that recent photographs of Chinese main battle tanks taken during military parades held in celebration of China's 50th anniversary of Communism in October showed "what was described as a photoelectric device that may have been a ground-based laser equivalent" of the same ASAT system.

Fischer said the U.S. is currently developing a similar weapon, whereby "a ground-based laser would be capable of producing a 'dazzle'" strong enough to knock an incoming missile off course."

However, he cautioned, "the Chinese may have beat us to the punch," though he said attempts to classify the new battle tank equipment as "definitely laser technology" were inconclusive.

As early as 1997, the Army reported successfully test-firing a ground-based laser called MIRCL at an orbiting Air Force MSTI-3 research satellite as it passed over the Army's White Sands, New Mexico, test facility. According to one published report, "Two bursts from the chemical laser struck a sensor array on the MSTI-3 craft."

The U.S. firms Boeing and TRW are also developing an airborne laser defense system, fitted to a cargo model of the 747 airliner, that would be capable of targeting incoming ICBMs and other medium-range missiles, either destroying them or rendering them incapacitated.

U.S. officials downplayed the results of the Army's laser tests, saying only that they were "a research experiment, not a step towards a space weapon."

But since the Hong Kong newspaper account, officials and experts in the United States have begun to re-examine the issue of Chinese military laser technology, which now may be even more advanced than developments first revealed by the Cox Committee.

According to the Cox report, Beijing had already managed to obtain sensitive laser technology enabling them to test miniature nuclear weapons and to assist the Chinese navy in locating hard-to-find U.S. nuclear submarines.

Unclassified documents provided to WorldNetDaily also provide detailed technical information on new Chinese beam director designs for high-powered laser weapons -- specifically those designed for eventual "anti-satellite missions," anti-missile applications and for blinding combatants in the field. Stokes said the Chinese were especially interested in the development of "free electron laser" weapons, "because they have a number of advantages, including their adjustable wavelength and bandwidth and their potential range of 5,000 kilometers."

According to documents, Li Hui, Director of the Beijing Institute of Remote Sensing Equipment, a developer of optical precision and photoelectronic guidance systems for surface-to-air missiles, "has cited laser technology as the only effective means to counter cruise missiles."

Hui has "encouraged the acceleration of laser weapons development," the documents said, while stressing that an "anti-cruise missile laser weapon" already developed by China "utilizes...the most mature high-energy laser technology, the deuterium-fluoride (DF) chemical laser."

"Li Hui's statement advocating ground-based laser weapons for use against missiles is not the first by a Chinese weapons developer," the documents said. "The 1028th Research Institute (RI) of the Ministry of Information Industry, a major Chinese developer of integrated air defense systems, has analyzed the use of lasers in future warfare.

Such uses include active jamming of electro-optics, blinding combatants and damaging sensors, causing laser-guided weapons to deviate from their true targets, and target destruction."

The 1028th's analysis, the papers said, "concluded with the statement, 'The appearance of laser weapons will have a significant impact on modern warfare. On today's electronic battlefield, it is natural for defensive systems to use low-energy laser weapons to damage enemy electronic equipment. When high-energy lasers that can directly destroy tanks, planes and ships develop and mature, they will be formidable offensive weapons.'"

Stokes' research supports the Cox Committee's conclusions about Chinese intentions to build a variety of high-tech laser weapons. Though he said "there is no proof or strong indication that development" of such weapons "is in a more advanced stage in China than in the U.S.," he notes that China's People's Liberation Army "is placing greater emphasis on lasers and their potential military applications."

"The Academy of Military Science, the PLA's leading think-tank on future warfare," Stokes said, "believes lasers will be an integral aspect of 21st century war."

/news/archives.asp?ARCHIVE_ID=16Charles Smith, a WorldNetDaily staff writer and founder of Softwar, wrote Jan. 26 that new Chinese laser systems not only are rapidly advancing, but they incorporate microchip technology obtained through export from the U.S.

"The Clinton administration allowed the export of advanced radiation-hardened microchip technology, vital electronic components for military satellites and nuclear weapons, to Russia and China," Smith wrote. The technology allowed China to build air-defense laser systems powerful enough to deliver an "estimated...10,000 watts of output power on a target up to 500 miles away." Smith said the Chinese are preparing to deploy "an even more powerful ground-based laser by the year 2000."

The Pentagon declined to comment on current Chinese laser weapons development, but most experts who spoke with WorldNetDaily believe the Chinese have obtained advanced laser technology from multiple sources. They also believe Beijing is involved in an ongoing plan to "acquire" new laser weapons technologies either by producing them domestically, buying them or through espionage.

William Triplett II, co-author of the Chinese espionage bestseller, "Year of the Rat," and a new book detailing Chinese military prowess called "Red Dragon Rising," said he believed Beijing may have stolen some U.S. ASAT and laser technology, but indicated that in the end that may prove to be a small part of their developmental process.

"Right now the Chinese are in the cat-bird seat," he said. "They have holes in their capabilities, but they have access to cutting-edge military technology from both Russia and the U.S. What they couldn't get from us they have bought from Moscow."

Triplett said that while China's use of laser technology was "advanced," Beijing's ASAT and anti-missile laser weaponry was "not yet equal" to U.S. capabilities.

"The degree to which espionage" was involved with Chinese acquisition of laser technology "is really not clear," said Fischer. "We can assume with a high degree of certainty that Beijing is seeking Russian laser technology, but they themselves have devoted enormous resources" to the research and development of laser weaponry, he said.

Stokes added, "Chinese analysts see directed energy weapons as important for China's air defense and counterspace efforts. DEW efforts also reflect a diversification of China's nuclear weapons industry."


Hong Kong media exposure: China unveiled heavy laser weapon

October 23, 2010
Hong Kong media exposure: China unveiled heavy laser weapon

The demonstration of laser weapons the United States shocked the world, and even the media is worried that the weapons will break the military balance between the major powers. In fact, China's research on laser weapons technology has already begun, and have achieved considerable results.

As early as 1964, Mao Zedong had laser weapons technology asked Nie, Nie immediately said: "must be done, even if just to put money into the sea have to do it." After discussion, the National Defense Science and Technology Commission decided to focus on research as a laser weapon weapons, and formally named the "6403 Project" (March 1964 the establishment of meaning.) The reason why China's top deep interest in laser weapons, mainly land for high-altitude defense considerations. At that time, U.S. combat weapons such as high-altitude strategic bombers, air defense threat to the mainland is very large. China's size and the number of missiles in the armed forces a serious shortage of both, which threaten helpless, and achieved initial breakthrough technology for high-energy laser weapon to bring hope to solve the above dilemma.

In 1964, the Chinese Academy of Sciences Institute formed a professional laser light machines ─ ─ Shanghai, the main high-power, large energy intensity laser research.After years of development, made a successful shot a laser device neutrons, so the world with admiration. Canadian experts have even said that China and the United States in this area has been at the same level. To the 1970s, caught in the immature technology and the wrong political move, the strong laser weapons project was temporarily shelved.

With the U.S. Star Wars plan stage, China is also the mid-1980s quietly re-open the laser weapons. The Chinese learned the previous lesson, objectives not be dead, try to use proven technology and flexible in order to "focus on basic, focusing on improving" as the guiding principle of this technology for a long time in the exploration of research.

Currently in the world, Russia's leading theory, the United States and Israel in the application of laser weapons in a leading position. Research on laser weapons in China, there are many rumors, but have not been confirmed by reliable sources. It is believed that China has the authority to enter the field of laser weapons expert, and master the five core technologies: laser materials, laser materials, the physical mechanism of radiation and imaging spectroscopy technique, a one-time fast tracking control technology, laser imaging technology and high-density energy reversible conversion carrier material technology.

There was an article saying the Internet, a code-named "death ray A" heavy laser weapons, China has successfully developed. Heavy strategic laser weapon system is mainly used to destroy the enemy's military satellites during the war and for military purposes hostile "space station", the second is to destroy enemy ground fixed and mobile nuclear missile silo and underwater nuclear submarines. The "death ray A" heavy laser weapon system the basic shape and deliver troops allegedly trial.

"Ta Kung Pao" 22 published reports describe the laser air defense weapon stepped onto the global contest of Taiwan. Reported that the previous test on the assembly of the aircraft of different laser weapons, which use a new generation of laser weapons, "solid-state lasers", not by chemical action produced by the laser beam. The range of the laser gun is a U.S. Navy secrets, but the U.S. media have said that they installed in the ship than the range for defensive purposes on the 20 mm gun away 3 times.

Reported that the development of air defense laser weapons for the purpose of analysis refers to the foreign media will be more and more unmanned aircraft generally used for surveillance and attack the fleet, it is necessary to develop unmanned aircraft defense against these weapons. At the same time, the system has also been developed to deal with small boats and anti-ship missiles, is expected to be fully operational by 2016."Jane's Defense Magazine" means, this is the real-world application of solid-state laser weapons began.

Chinese experts have questioned is not yet mature

The disclosure to the U.S. laser weapon experiment, "Ta Kung Pao," reported that Chinese military experts expressed doubts that the cost of other factors by the constraints put into practical application of laser weapons still exist from a considerable distance.

Song Xiaojun military experts that the U.S. laser weapons will be put into practical, yet not be immediately brought to China and other countries on the concept of defense transformation, including Russia, other major powers, including the research on laser weapons have been in progress.

For 2016, the argument may be put into use, Song Xiaojun that "unrealistic", the laser weapon technology is still "special premature." In his view, this weapons program more like a "pseudo-item" and even yet to be verified the authenticity of the video, "like the ballistic missile defense system is to fraud."

He believes that Americans are likely to "image projects", aimed to secure more financial support from the Congress. Song Xiaojun emphasized that laser weapons because of cost, technical and other reasons, the short term is unlikely to become a high cost-effective battlefield weapon.

Li Xiaoning, another means of military experts, laser weapons are not seen as effective, practical applications, there are many difficulties. "Now that there are many such reports, see the battlefield depends on the real effectiveness of it."

Song Xiaojun Li Xiaoning, and have said that laser weapons is really effective, if, like nuclear weapons will not be a unique situation, and no country willing to fall behind.


11 November 2010

US Navy's Free Electron Super-Laser Energy Weapon ++

H/T BrianWang

The US Navy plans to equip its nuclear ships with powerful, tunable, free electron lasers which can serve as powerful energy weapons as well as serve several other functions. The Chinese military is developing a lethal "carrier killer" missile, meant to neutralise the power of the US aircraft carrier groups which may intervene in a Chinese invasion of Taiwan. The US Navy wants to neutralise this threat in turn, as well as accomplishing many other weapons and non-weapons capabilities with the new, powerful laser.
All lasers require some kind of medium to turn light into high-energy beams--solid state lasers use crystals, while chemical lasers use (you guessed it) a stew of unfriendly chemicals. Both of those versions have their pros and cons, but neither is extraordinarily versatile; they generally power their lasers up to a certain wavelength and that’s that.

Free electron lasers, on the other hand, use a stream of supercharged electrons to power the laser at varying wavelengths. This versatility is why the Navy has referred to FELs as the Holy Grail of laser tech and why it has embarked on a $163 million quest to develop a working weapons system, $26 million of which is currently facilitating a development program at Boeing that’s due for delivery in 2012. _PopSci

Sure, everyone wants a “death ray,” as the Navy’s chief of research, Rear Admiral Nevin Carr, put it yesterday. But the program manager at the Office of Naval Research for the Free Electron Laser, Quentin Saulter, tells Danger Room that the Navy is looking at “multiple uses, not a single use” for its “Holy Grail” of lasers. And that might lighten the laser’s energy burden.

What would the laser do when it’s not trying to blast a missile out of the sky? “It can be used as a sensor,” Saulter says in an interview during the Office of Naval Research’s science and technology conference in Virginia. “It can be used as a tracker… It can enable kinetic kill systems to be more precise. It can be used for location, time-of-flight location, information exchange, can be used for communications, it can be used for target designation, it can be used for disruption.” _Wired_via_BrianWang

The US is involved in something of a new "arms race" with China, similar to an earlier arms race with the now-defunct USSR. But the US military will not be able to out-spend China the way it did the Soviets. And keeping a technological lead over the Chinese will be difficult when US corporations and labs are teeming with corporate and overseas spies -- and when US corporations themselves are vying with each other to transfer advanced technology to the Chinese, and to build huge new state of the art tech fabs and factories on the Chinese mainland.

The Chinese, in other words, will have the blueprints to the new weapons long before they are built. While Chinese infrastructure may be lagging in many areas of high technology, eventually they will be able to build and/or counteract whatever US labs invent and develop.

That is something the US military must keep in mind when it spends big money on advanced weapons.

Labels: China, military, weapons technoloy