China is building a huge network of satellites that could be used against US troops: intel chief

  • China has developed a large network of military satellites.

  • A Pentagon official warned they could be used to target US troops.

  • China is expanding its military presence in space.

China has developed a network of hundreds of military satellites that could be used to target US troops, a Pentagon official warned.

Maj. Gen. Greg Gagnon, deputy chief of space operations for intelligence, told a conference on Thursday that China had developed a sophisticated military satellite program.

He said it could be used to track and target US troops moving to defend Taiwan, Defense One reported.

"It's to provide indications and warnings of sailors, marines, airmen, trying to move west, if directed, to defend freedom," Gagnon said.

"They will now—in a way that we're not comfortable talking about in America—they will be inside a rapidly expanding weapons engagement zone."

He went on to explain that means they can track their targets from a long-distance, even if those targets are mobile.

"Few countries have that advantage," he said.

The US has long deployed a network of satellites to monitor potential threats, but Gagnon said that China had ended the US monopoly on using satellite data to strike targets at very long distances.

He described it as an "architecture that's designed to go to war and sustain in war. And the purpose of reconnaissance and surveillance, from the ultimate high ground, is, of course, to inform decisions about fire control for militaries."

China has, in recent years, intensified its bid to establish itself as a major military force in space.

Military experts believe that if a war were to break out between major powers, the opening shots would likely be fired in space in a bid to disable the satellite systems militaries rely on for communications.

China has developed weapons capable of taking out US satellites, systems for monitoring US troops, and hypersonic weapons capable of evading air defense systems — and some are warning could be preparing to use the moon as a platform for attacks.

The number of Chinese crafts in orbit has risen by around 500% since its space military division was formed in 2015, said Gagnon, and of the 400 launched in the last two years around half are used to monitor Earth.

US military leaders are warning that the US must step up if it wants to avoid being beaten in the race for space dominance.

"We are at a pivotal moment in history," Troy Meink, principal deputy director of the National Reconnaissance Office, which builds and operates the US fleet of spy satellites, said at a recent event in Colorado, as quoted by

"For the first time in decades, US leadership in space and space technology is being challenged," Meink added. "Our competitors are actively seeking ways to threaten our capabilities, and we see this every day."

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