January 22, 2007 | 01:36 PM
Chinese Satellite Buster Missile
Cannot help admiring the Chinese. By showing their ability to accurately take out a satellite, they have taken the wind out of the Western Power's approach to modern conventional (as against nuclear) warfare ...
For communications through satellite lie at at the heart of the new technological war that the US ( for example) is employing. From unmanned Drones used to bomb targets in Afghanistan, to pinpointing targets for tactical air strikes, to strategic communication to ground forces. The edge of modern convential warfare lies in communication. And therefore cutting the risk to the military personell in the air and on the ground.
The Chinese have now shown that in any such warfare, they can force the US to rely on sheer numbers on the ground and motivations of the soldiers. Something the US soldiers lack. Or just greater firepower.
So what happens if Iraq had these missiles, or if Hamas had them, or now Iran gets them. The tragic truth is that without them the US and Israel would have to depend upon sheer firepower that was far less accurate. That would have led to far more civilian casualties than the horrendous numbers we have already seen in Iraq and Lebanon recently.
It's an interesting deterrent though. No longer perhaps do we have to create nuclear arsenals in the name of defense. Just the ability to knock out communications satellites could through a whole nation into chaos.
On the other hand, when the US bombed the AL Jazeera offices in Kabul, they could have taken out the satellite they use. Knocking them completely off the air. But soon somebody can knock the whole Fox channel off the air. Bet u all the defense strategists all over the world are pouring over this. China has really started something here.
Satellites are quite an old technology. I suspect that nanotechnology will come in with the new satellites, as small as my hand, but capable of reflecting back trillions of bits of information.
And further down, infinitely small nanoparticles that bond together through Dark Matter so barely visible. Spreading like an invisible flexible sheet 10 miles above the Earth.
Stuff of Science fiction, this.