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Chinese Nukes from Space


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China tested a nuclear-capable hypersonic missile in August that circled the globe before speeding towards its target, demonstrating an advanced space capability that caught US intelligence by surprise.

Five people familiar with the test said the Chinese military launched a rocket that carried a hypersonic glide vehicle which flew through low-orbit space before cruising down towards its target

The missile missed its target by about two-dozen miles, according to three people briefed on the intelligence. But two said the test showed that China had made astounding progress on hypersonic weapons and was far more advanced than US officials realised. The test has raised new questions about why the US often underestimated China’s military modernisation. “We have no idea how they did this,” said a fourth person. The US, Russia and China are all developing hypersonic weapons, including glide vehicles that are launched into space on a rocket but orbit the earth under their own momentum. They fly at five times the speed of sound, slower than a ballistic missile. But they do not follow the fixed parabolic trajectory of a ballistic missile and are manoeuvrable, making them harder to track. Taylor Fravel, an expert on Chinese nuclear weapons policy who was unaware of the test, said a hypersonic glide vehicle armed with a nuclear warhead could help China “negate” US missile defence systems which are designed to destroy incoming ballistic missiles.


“Hypersonic glide vehicles . . . fly at lower trajectories and can manoeuvre in flight, which makes them hard to track and destroy,” said Fravel, a professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Fravel added that it would be “destabilising” if China fully developed and deployed such a weapon, but he cautioned that a test did not necessarily mean that Beijing would deploy the capability. Mounting concern about China’s nuclear capabilities comes as Beijing continues to build up its conventional military forces and engages in increasingly assertive military activity near Taiwan. Tensions between the US and China have risen as the Biden administration has taken a tough tack on Beijing, which has accused Washington of being overly hostile. US military officials in recent months have warned about China’s growing nuclear capabilities, particularly after the release of satellite imagery that showed it was building more than 200 intercontinental missile silos. China is not bound by any arms-control deals and has been unwilling to engage the US in talks about its nuclear arsenal and policy.  “If you use that kind of an approach, you don’t have to use a traditional ICBM trajectory. It’s a way to avoid defences and missile warning systems,” said Kendall. In August, General Glen VanHerck, head of North American Aerospace Defense Command, told a conference that China had “recently demonstrated very advanced hypersonic glide vehicle capabilities”. He warned that the Chinese capability would “provide significant challenges to my Norad capability to provide threat warning and attack assessment”. Two of the people familiar with the Chinese test said the weapon could, in theory, fly over the South Pole. That would pose a big challenge for the US military because its missiles defence systems are focused on the northern polar route. The revelation comes as the Biden administration undertakes the Nuclear Posture Review, an analysis of policy and capabilities mandated by Congress that has pitted arms-control advocates against those who believe the US must do more to modernise its nuclear arsenal because of China.


The Pentagon did not comment on the report but expressed concern about China. “We have made clear our concerns about the military capabilities China continues to pursue, capabilities that only increase tensions in the region and beyond,” said John Kirby, spokesperson. “That is one reason why we hold China as our number one pacing challenge.” The Chinese embassy declined to comment on the test, but Liu Pengyu, spokesperson, said China always pursued a military policy that was “defensive in nature” and its military development did not target any country. “We don’t have a global strategy and plans of military operations like the US does. And we are not at all interested in having an arms race with other countries,” Liu said. “In contrast, the US has in recent years been fabricating excuses like ‘the China threat’ to justify its arms expansion and development of hypersonic weapons. This has directly intensified arms race in this category and severely undermined global strategic stability.”


One Asian national security official said the Chinese military conducted the test in August. China generally announces the launch of Long March rockets — the type used to launch the hypersonic glide vehicle into orbit — but it conspicuously concealed the August launch. The security official, and another Chinese security expert close to the People’s Liberation Army, said the weapon was being developed by the China Academy of Aerospace Aerodynamics. CAAA is a research institute under China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation, the main state-owned firm that makes missile systems and rockets for China’s space programme. Both sources said the hypersonic glide vehicle was launched on a Long March rocket, which is used for the space programme. The China Academy of Launch Vehicle Technology, which oversees launches, on July 19 said on an official social media account that it had launched a Long March 2C rocket, which it added was the 77th launch of that rocket. On August 24, it announced that it had conducted a 79th flight. But there was no announcement of a 78th launch, which sparked speculation among observers of its space programme about a secret launch. CAAA did not respond to requests for comment.




Sorry about the formatting.  FT not very happy with me about the copy + paste. 


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America stockpiled "hypersonic" weapons also known as ICBM's that could launch nukes so fast they "circled the globe" AKA into orbit, during the 1950's and 1960's. All ICBM's are hypersonic in nature as those speeds are needed to escape earths atmosphere, and gravity. Basically these guys are 70 years late to the party, but Financial Times is riding that CCP propoganda hype train.

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9 hours ago, Mercer said:

America stockpiled "hypersonic" weapons also known as ICBM's that could launch nukes so fast they "circled the globe" AKA into orbit, during the 1950's and 1960's. All ICBM's are hypersonic in nature as those speeds are needed to escape earths atmosphere, and gravity. Basically these guys are 70 years late to the party, but Financial Times is riding that CCP propoganda hype train.


9 hours ago, Dark_Knight said:

Feel like this is the equivalent to Russia driving tanks still. Just a flex of strength for marketing. Could be way off with this assumption tho.


Both inaccurate - very different to ballistic missiles. This is a gliding delivery vehicle, traveling lower and faster, likely with greater maneuverability, able to avoid detection and defeat missile defences better than ballistic missiles. This is new tech that all advanced states have been trying to perfect. Should the reports be accurate, the fact that the Chinese were further advanced than expected is also a big deal, given the implications for US/global intelligence and ability to respond in time with similar projects or fielding counter-measures.

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2 hours ago, mr.yuck said:

@ndvThats crazy. I had to look that shit up. Just dropping a handful of pennies on your enemies from space


It is crazy tech. I remember holding a 4" Dia billet of tungsten years back and it was super heavy, and this piece was about 4" thick as well.  So just the weight of one rod would be insane to move and manufacture, but once inspect it would be easy to maneuver.  It's just very exspensive to do right now. Or at least thats what Darpa wants us to believe.  


But back on subject, I think nuclear power os great, but nuclear war heads is completely stupid due to the decades of fallout and makes the area wasteland and pretty much is rendered useless for a while.   But what would I know?  Thanks to Elon we can nuke earth, move to Mars, and comeback to earth when radiation levels are ok to do so again. 

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2 hours ago, metronome said:

Came across this interesting little thread on China tonight.  Maybe @Hua Guofangcan speculate on how much meat is on the bones here.  I do remember reading a chapter in Why Nations Fail about this premise though with communism propping up poor countries economies in the short term before the bottom falls out.





Whilst not the best person to comment, as I'm not an economist, people have been predicting the economic collapse of China for decades. I worked for a consulting firm from around 07 to 15 and for the whole time I was there they were reporting that China's economic model was unsustainable - the bank buyout to meet the grade to enter the WTO was going to sink them, then the underground banking system and caps on prices would cripple them, etc. etc. Now it's Evergrande, debt crisis, Xi's politicisation of the market and hobbling of corporates for the benefit of SOEs, etc.


I don't know the answer, he may be right. What I do know is that people have been saying very similar things for decades now (Gordon Chang wrote The Coming Collapse of China in the late 70s, put it that way...). One thing that he is actually wrong about is that the ban on Australian coal caused the power shortages across China at moment. There's already a lot of public analysis people can read that argues that it's more than just the behind-the-border barriers on Aussie coal.

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3 hours ago, mr.yuck said:

I feel like I read a little while ago that new nukes are cleaner bombs and only produce radioactive fallout that lasts for several weeks before the area is safe to travel again. 


I'll definitely have to check that out. That's pretty advanced in uranium sciences if that's what they call it. Interesting nonetheless.  

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They invented the Neutron Bomb (also 1950's/60's tech) just for the purpose. Little to no blast damage, and since it releases neutrons the area can be occupied by the attacker almost immediately after detonation. The radiation dissipates very rapidly, but all life within the neutron "blast" radius is terminated, leaving all physical assets within the blast radius fully in tact.


Kinetic bombardment  basically requires object that won't burn up in the atmosphere, and with a large enough mass to transfer enough energy into the surface. The only real use for this that would make it a viable weapon would be a covert operation. Like dropping an Asteroid on an enemy city and pretending it was an act of god/nature. Regular nuke's, including Neutron bombs are much easier to deliver and economically more viable. Launching an object large enough to use, or more likely capturing large enough objects, or groups of objects in space to guide to target would be too costly to make any sense. 

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23 hours ago, Mercer said:

They invented the Neutron Bomb (also 1950's/60's tech) just for the purpose. Little to no blast damage, and since it releases neutrons the area can be occupied by the attacker almost immediately after detonation. The radiation dissipates very rapidly, but all life within the neutron "blast" radius is terminated, leaving all physical assets within the blast radius fully in tact.


Kinetic bombardment  basically requires object that won't burn up in the atmosphere, and with a large enough mass to transfer enough energy into the surface. The only real use for this that would make it a viable weapon would be a covert operation. Like dropping an Asteroid on an enemy city and pretending it was an act of god/nature. Regular nuke's, including Neutron bombs are much easier to deliver and economically more viable. Launching an object large enough to use, or more likely capturing large enough objects, or groups of objects in space to guide to target would be too costly to make any sense. 



I am so outdated on this mass destruction thing.  But this Neutron thing is very interesting.   I wonder if I could pull of the "neutron in a jar thing"  like the kid did with ''A star in a jar", then perhaps I just may be able to make a few mil holding the world hostage.  

42 best images about Austin Powers on Pinterest | Jokes ...

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Counter-argument to what I first posted in this thread:



China’s Tests Are No Sputnik Moment

  • October 21, 2021
  • Quick Take
Source: Getty
Summary:  China’s recent tests of a novel nuclear-weapon delivery system may not represent a new threat to the United States. But they should prompt the development of a new diplomatic strategy to prevent a dangerous arms race.
Related Media and Tools

In October 1957, electronic beeping from the Soviet satellite Sputnik—the first artificial object placed into orbit around the Earth—sparked near-panic in the United States. Heading the list of concerns was the possibility that future Soviet satellites could be loaded with nuclear weapons, potentially allowing the commies, in the words of then Senate majority leader Lyndon B. Johnson, to drop “bombs on us from space like kids dropping rocks onto cars from freeway overpasses.”

Superficially, therefore, it seems appropriate that China’s reported tests of an orbital nuclear delivery system, which occurred in July and August 2021, have repeatedly been described as a “Sputnik moment”—if not something “waaaay scarier.”

While the prospect of a nuclear attack against the United States is terrifying, this is no Sputnik moment—partly because it’s not entirely clear what was tested, but mostly because the threat of a Chinese nuclear attack on the United States isn’t remotely new.

What the Test Could Mean

The tests’ purpose is not yet entirely clear. According to media reports, the U.S. intelligence community believes that China tested a new nuclear-weapon delivery system—one that is initially launched into orbit before releasing a glider that then descends onto its target (or at least within “two dozen miles” of it). China acknowledged the July test but claims that it involved a reusable space vehicle.

James M. Acton
Acton holds the Jessica T. Mathews Chair and is co-director of the Nuclear Policy Program at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.

Both interpretations of the test are plausible, though not equally credible. I suspect that, as reported, China is following the Soviet Union’s lead in developing a so-called fractional orbital bombardment system. But I can’t rule out the possibility that China is developing a space plane, like the United States’ X-37B. Because tests of space planes and some orbital weapons could be indistinguishable, determining China’s intentions is difficult. In fact, it is even possible that China tested a technology demonstrator with multiple potential applications.

U.S. Vulnerability Isn’t New

Yet to focus on this test is to miss the forest for the trees. China has had the ability to attack the United States with nuclear warheads since the 1980s (and the U.S. territory of Guam was likely vulnerable even earlier). Meanwhile, the United States’ one operational homeland missile defense system—the Ground-based Midcourse Defense system—is explicitly designed to intercept only North Korea’s intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs).

U.S. defenses focus on North Korea because China’s ICBM force is too “large and technically sophisticated” to defend against. (In fact, poor test results and chronic mismanagement suggest that the Ground-based Midcourse Defense system couldn’t be relied upon to stop North Korean ICBMs either.) As a result, the United States has, for decades, sought to prevent a Chinese ICBM attack by threatening dire consequences—that is, by deterrence—and not by seeking interception capabilities.

However, like defense officials in the United States—and pretty much every other country, for that matter—Chinese leaders take a worst-case view of what their competitors could do and plan accordingly. There have been no limits on the size of U.S. missile defense deployments since the United States withdrew from the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty in 2002. So Beijing is concerned that the United States could seek the capability to attack China’s nuclear forces preemptively and then use missile defenses to intercept whatever surviving missiles are launched in retaliation. Indeed, there is support from some members of Congress for trying to do so.

The U.S. general officer responsible for homeland defense has assessed that China’s concerns about missile defenses are likely motivating its efforts to build up its ICBM forces. Thus, China is building hundreds of new ICBM silos (even if it’s likely that only some of them will be filled with ICBMs). Beijing is also arming ICBMs with multiple warheads and developing missile defense countermeasures, such as decoys.

China is also developing non-ballistic nuclear delivery systems that could evade U.S. sensors or fly beneath the reach of U.S. interceptors. These weapons include an intercontinental hypersonic glider as well as “novel nuclear-powered capabilities” (which, if modeled on Russia’s programs, could include a torpedo, a cruise missile, or both). A glider delivered by a fractional orbital bombardment system can also potentially be added to this breathless list.

It’s Time to Limit Missile Defenses. Again.

As a resident of northern Virginia who could be incinerated by a large nuclear blast over the Pentagon, I am indifferent about which delivery system carried the warhead that fried me. The focus should be on preventing a nuclear war and mitigating the costs and tensions of a new nuclear arms race.

The United States has long wanted to engage China in risk-reduction talks. Beijing has long refused. A rethink of U.S. missile defense policy could help break this impasse.

It is increasingly clear that whatever value the United States hoped to gain from homeland defenses has been more than outweighed by China’s reaction—and Russia’s too. The United States, therefore, should offer to negotiate new limits on missile defenses, to which it would only agree if China and Russia offered very significant concessions in return. It’s time to start planning such a trade.

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4 hours ago, Mercer said:

China isn't as big a threat to foreign countries as everyone wants to hype them up as. I'm more interested in, and worried about what they're doing to their own citizens inside their own borders. 


Then you should be worried about the China threat to the world, because they're exporting the means (technology and training) they use to oppress their own citizens to other countries. The idea is that they're supporting similar governance styles as their own in order to make the world safer for themselves (as in the CCP).


Secondly, if they gain regional primacy - which they are aiming for beyond a shadow of a doubt, if you read Chinese language material they openly discuss it - do you think that they will treat foreign countries any better than they treat their own citizens? Of course they won't. Just look at the way they infiltrate the Chinese diasporas in other countries in order to manipulate and control them - many of these people weren't even born in China but the CCP still fucks with them:



the incident in Kuala Lumpur highlights that some of the more troubling activities the government has undertaken have been those targeting the Chinese diaspora.



“Today, the overseas functions of United Front include increasing the CCP’s political influence, interfering in Chinese (expat communities), suppressing dissident movements, building a permissive international environment for a takeover of Taiwan, intelligence gathering, encouraging investment in China, and facilitating technology transfer.”



Law said special attention should be paid to relatives of Chinese and Hong Kong officials and law enforcement; those linked to organizations that have publicly supported the national security law; and anyone tied to China's United Front network, which Beijing uses to suppress criticism of the CCP and advance its influence abroad.








The Chinese Communist Party is also collecting data on foreign citizens at massive scale:



Most of the 27 companies tracked by our Mapping China’s Technology Giants project are heavily involved in the collection and processing of vast quantities of personal and organisational data — everything from personal social media accounts, to smart cities data, to biomedical data.



It is estimated that 80% of American adults have had all of their personal data stolen by the CCP, and the other 20 percent most of their personal data.




@Mercerif you're not a fan of the way the US has acted around the world in the last 70+ years, you're going to hate what the CCP does.

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I could see why you'd view them as a major threat, your country does like 80% of it's foreign trade with China. This makes it extremely vulnerable to the CCP's economic leverage, which they do exploit quite effectively unfortunately. I view this predicament as 100% voluntary on Australia's part. The economic incentives to be under the CCP's sphere of influence makes it worth it, or Australia wouldn't be so engaged with them. For the people paying attention, it's the economics that are a threat (worth the effort of trying to reduce), not their status as a mutually assured destruction nuclear power.


I get it, it's a totalitarian state, and they coordinate gathering of intel, and exerting influence in a much more threatening manner than any other country on this planet. The thing is, they exert this power in through economic warfare (my expertise so to speak), not through their military. So with that said, I can also understand why you'd want citizens in a large country like the U.S. to develop some sort of irrational fear of China's military. "Oh no, they've invented a slightly different ICBM". They've had strike capabilities since the 80's, to me, this threat is a distraction from the real threat they pose, at least to the United States.


We've already wasted countless lives, and tax dollars fighting proxy wars with them in Korea, and Vietnam. This is the main reason I'd prefer countries like Australia, Korea, and Japan pull more of their own weight in that region, and not rely so heavily on U.S. deterrence. In short, the South China Sea is in your backyard, not ours. It poses a threat to your economy if they exert influence.


Personally, if I were looking for a way to fight them, I'd go the unconventional route. I think their totalitarianism is what should be exploited. It would be much more effective to have their own citizens fight the CCP, than for the United States to drop a few trillion on a new missile defense system we'll never use, thus opening ourselves up to the real threat, economic warfare.

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- The CCP's economic leverage - agree 100%, it's still the greatest weapon they have and it was ignored for a long time how much they used it. Yeas ago, they threatened to cancel their orders with Airbus because some one (Sarkozy, maybe?) was going to meet the Delai Lama. They stopped importing bananas from Philippines for something I can't even recall now. This was well before they threatened exports of rare earths to Japan.


However, the way you frame Australia's econ relationship is a bit off. It's not like it's a national decision to trade so heavily with them, it's many individual decisions by tens of thousands of private companies to trade with the world's largest market. The govt has been warning Australian businesses to price risk into their decisions to invest in that market and there have been significant efforts to find other markets for diversification, this being a perfect example: https://www.dfat.gov.au/geo/india/ies/index.html


However, there are just no other markets the size of China and the CCP then leverages those many individual decisions - choosing those like mining who have the most political leverage - to pressure the Australian govt to change policy on things like human rights inside China, COVID investigations, Taiwan, etc. etc.



- China's military power - I think you're making some fatal errors in the way you frame China's ability to project physical power. China's military capabilities have been growing from a low base, if you use the Korean and Vietnamese wars as a baseline. They are now deploying naval, air, space and cyber capabilities that are shifting the military balance west of Guam. In many of the war games conducted that consider a battle in the Taiwan Straits, the US loses. That wasn't the case 10 years ago. The rate of expansion in the Chinese navy is pretty amazing - especially in terms of subs, aircraft carriers and drones. Of course, they are not at the level of capability and experience we see in the US, but their rate of advancement is much faster than anyone expected and to assume that their economic/market power won't be matched by military might well within our lifetimes is a clear mistake. Indeed, it is that market power and their economic growth that powers the modernisation of Chinese military might.


- US allies and regional nations should do more - I won't disagree, we should all be doing more. However, the rate of growth in military spending in places like Australia, Korea, etc. is something you might want to look into. But the bottom line is, that even if Australia, Japan, Korea, Singapore and Indonesia all teamed up to fight China (say for dominance west of Guam), we would lose horribly. For starters, we don't have nukes. Secondly, we don't have the economies, technology, experience and markets the US has. We would eventually be picked off one-by-one and crushed. The region needs the US to be able to stand up to the US.


Secondly, if ROK, Japan, Vietnam, Taiwan, Singapore and Australia all came under a Chinese sphere of influence - that is to say that the alliance system broke and regional partners pulled away from the US - China could bar US access to key markets and waterways (not just our economies that suffer, so will America's) and access to critical feeds of intelligence (Pine Gap, Okinawa, THAAD, etc.) would disappear. US forward basing in places like Japan, Australia, Philippines and access to places like Singapore, Jakarta, etc. would also be gone and some one else would be shaping the playing field and taking all the initiative. There's a reason why the US has the alliance system, and it's not just to benefit like minded countries such as Australia. It's because it's very helpful to the US for many, many reasons.



On your last point, I couldn't agree more. And that's precisely why Xi Jinping is cracking down on so many elements in Chinese society. He knows that his greatest threat is an informed Chinese society with the latitude to make decisions.

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I'm not saying China's military power is weak. What I'm saying is they have mutually assured destruction capabilities (at the very best) from the U.S.'s perspective. Honestly, I still have serious doubts they're even close to the threat the U.S.S.R. could have. That said, you and I both know they're not even close when it comes to military might compared to the United States. Especially if they're intentionally hyping up a "new" delivery system, when the U.S. still keeps it's best tech a secret. Hate to sound cocky, but the only threat we face in the U.S. are countries that present a mutually assured destruction threat, and that's it. That means there are two places (including their proxies) on this planet an all out invasion/bombardment isn't a good idea. For these places, economic warfare, sedition, subversion, and sabotage are far superior weapons. Once a country ascends to this position there is no increased threat due to new tech unless they can take out every submarine, satellite, and establish global air superiority. Nobody has this capability (yet).


That said, if I were wanting to take action against the CCP, mutually assured destruction through military posturing, and action probably isn't the best route. I'd use their own flaws against them. Maybe encourage, fund, and arm uprisings in some of the bordering nations they control. Maybe a Tienamin 2.0, maybe even frame a couple of the most powerful families in China as traitors, giving them no choice but to defend themselves from the CCP.


I can't remember the exact name of the Chinese rebellion, but there was a death penalty for any general that shows up late to battle. Two loyal/powerful generals, and their armies were delayed to arriving to a battlefield by a flood, thus, by law they had to be put to death. Instead of turning themselves in to be put to death, the generals chose to insurrection, and rebellion. This is the best weapon IMO against totalitarianism. AKA be the flood. Totalitarianism comes with a price. Self preservation against a sovereign, always trump's loyalty to said sovereign.


In short, what do you expect? America to waste a few billion more to afford Pacific nations a better bargaining position? Why not exploit the CCP's greatest weakness? Strategically speaking, It doesn't matter even if they start successfully building aircraft carriers, nuclear subs, stealth technology. We'll still control that big red button that wipes them out. IMO a coordinated effort like the one I described is a much more viable means of removing the CCP, and doesn't require the mass unnecessary death scenario that gives military types gigantic boners.

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