Posted on March 21, 2020

China Threatens Electronic Strikes on Navy

Bill Gertz, The Washington Times, March 18, 2020

China has called for using electromagnetic attacks on U.S. warships transiting the South China Sea, according to a state-run Chinese outlet.

The Communist Party-affiliated organ Global Times, quoting a military expert, said the use of nonlethal electromagnetic and laser weapons should be used by the People’s Liberation Army to expel American warships from the disputed sea.

The report followed China’s potentially dangerous use of a laser against a Navy P-8A maritime patrol aircraft near Guam last month, and an earlier lasing two years ago of C-130 aircraft near China’s military base in Djibouti on the coast of Africa.

The article was published Tuesday, the same day the Pacific Fleet announced on Twitter that the aircraft carrier strike group led by the USS Theodore Roosevelt, and the USS America, an amphibious assault carrier and leader of an expeditionary strike group, were conducting exercises in the South China Sea.


The large-scale military maneuvers are a direct challenge to China’s claims to control 90% of the South China Sea, despite an international court ruling several years ago rejecting those claims. The Global Times report said the carrier operations marked the third time in the past week that U.S. warships have “trespassed” into the sea.

The Pentagon has said repeatedly that it regards the sea as international waters and frequently conducts freedom of navigation operations through the sea.


Song Zhongping, a Chinese military commentator formerly with PLA missile forces, said the Chinese military has the option of using electromagnetic and other advanced weapons to counter the U.S. warship passages. Firing conventional weapons could trigger a conflict while using ramming techniques, as tried in 2018 against a U.S. warship, also is not a good method, he noted.

Mr. Song said that using electromagnetic weapons, including lasers, could temporarily paralyze U.S. warships’ weapons control systems “without visible conflict but can send a strong warning.” Electromagnetic arms emit pulses of energy that can jam electronics.



The new Space Force has deployed the military’s first offensive space weapon, a jamming device for disrupting satellite communications. The Counter Communications System Block 10.2, shown in photos as a large parabolic disk, was deployed with the Air Force 4th Space Control Squadron at Peterson Air Force Base in Colorado last week.

The electronic system was first introduced in 2004 as a ground-based, mobile space electronic warfare system. The weapon “reversibly denies adversary satellite communications,” the statement said. {snip}

The system is now in what the military calls “initial operating capability” (IOC), providing “quick-reaction capability with direct operational support to the warfighter,” the Space Force said. It was the first time the Space Force disclosed the existence of any of its weaponry.

Some critics of the force have said creating a new military branch without first deploying weapons is a mistake because a lack of arms could undermine the ability to deter conflict in space.


By contrast, both China and Russia have an array of space weapons, including different types of anti-satellite missiles, ground-based laser dazzlers and electronic jammers, and maneuvering killer robot satellites.

Air Force Col. Stephen Purdy, programs director for the Space and Missile Systems Center at Los Angeles Air Force Base, said the jammer is an important weapon.