Military Capabilities

USAF mulling better defended satellites

19 November 2017

US Air Force (USAF) Space Command (AFSPC) hopes to better defend its space assets that peer adversaries may target, and expects to try defending a potentially forthcoming missile warning satellite.

Major General David Thompson, special assistant to the AFSPC commander, said adversaries may use cyber attacks, attacks against ground control stations, or anti-satellite weapons (ASAT) to destroy satellites in space, and his command is mulling options to defend its systems. Maj Gen Thompson noted China’s 2007 ASAT demonstration, where it destroyed one of its own non-functional weather satellites with a ground-launched ballistic missile.

Those options are wide-ranging, he said, from defensive cyber, to pre-launch strikes, to adding defences to the satellites themselves.

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