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Chinese satellite gathering intel for Pearl Harbor

Aug 25, 2023

CHINA used green lasers fired from satellites to gather intelligence for a surprise hypersonic missile attack on Hawaii, it has been warned.

The satellite was recorded flashing lasers for a fraction of a second by a livestream camera attached to a telescope on top of a mountain on one of the islands.

Initially the lights were thought to come from a NASA satellite before it was finally established it was a Chinese pollution monitoring satellite the Daqi-1.

But questions immediately began to be raised about why the Chinese would feel it necessary to monitor pollution in Hawaii, given the large US military presence there.

And it comes just weeks after China flew a giant balloon over the US - which was widely understood to be a spy tool even as Beijing claimed it was a civilian weather airship.

Pearl Harbor on Oahu, Hawaii remains vital for the United States military and the presence of the satellite comes amid increased tensions between the US and China.

It's currently home to Joint Base Pearl Harbor - Hickham, a joint US Navy and Air Force facility that's headquarters to both the United States Pacific Fleet and Pacific Air Forces.

Japan's attack on the US Navy on December 7, 1941 marked America's entry into the Second World War.

Experts are warning the Chinese activity could pave the way for a repeat surprise attack on the US.

Rick Fisher, an expert on China's military at the International Assessment and Strategy Center, said the satellite is "a classic case of a Chinese dual use" of civilian technology that also serves military missions.

"The Daqi-1's lasers specifically monitor the density of the atmosphere and can detect different wind directions," he told The Sun Online.

"This is precisely the data required for China to accurately target small multiple reentry vehicle nuclear warheads or more recent Hypersonic Glide Vehicle warheads.

"HGV warheads seek to exploit low trajectories that are also low altitude and thus are very vulnerable to adverse weather conditions, necessitating the weather data precision that would be available from laser measurements."

He agrees Hawaii is at risk of another surprise attack, this time by the Chinese People's Liberation Army.

"Indeed there is an increasing Chinese threat to Hawaii but in a general war over Taiwan the PLA will also likely target US facilities in Japan, South Korea, Alaska and California," he said.

"Chinese weather satellites that use green lasers can assist the precise targeting of Hypersonic Glide Vehicle warheads that will be carried by air launched ballistic missiles launched by Xian H-6N bombers, that can be refuelled in order to reach Hawaii."

China has built up a huge arsenal of hypersonic missiles aimed at neutralising the power of the US Navy - dubbed 'carrier killers' - and attacking American facilities in the Pacific.

A livestream camera on top of a National Astronomical Observatory of Japan camera atop the Subaru Telescope on Mauna Kea recorded the footage of the laser in late January.

Footage shows green beams dancing sweeping across the night sky.

"It's a Chinese satellite that is measuring pollutants, among other things," said Roy Gal, from the University of Hawaii Institute of Astronomy.

Immediately, questions began to be asked, including from former chief of staff of Marine Forces Pacific Ray L’Heureux.

"I’m not sure, and this is my opinion, why the Chinese, who are probably some of the most prolific polluters on the planet, would be collecting data on pollutants on this side of the Pacific," he said.

Tensions have flared between Washington and Beijing over the issue of Taiwan, which China believes is a breakaway province and not a sovereign nation.

China has invested a large amount of money in hypersonic missiles with one goal in mind – keeping the US at bay in the event of war

Whether it's aircraft carriers or the US air base on Guam, the Chinese military believes the missiles can give them an edge and have been described as "game changers" by Western experts.

They differ from ballistic missiles in that they comprise a rocket that flies to around 25 miles above the earth which then unleashes a Hypersonic Glide Vehicle.

The detached HGV uses the Earth's gravity to descend at speeds of up to 7700 mph.

In contrast to ballistic missiles the HGV can be steered in flight making them a terrifying adversary and particularly dangerous to large warships such as aircraft carriers.

The Chinese launched two hypersonic nuclear missiles which circled the Earth and "defied the laws of physics" back in 2021.

Its newest missile in actual service, the DF-17, became fully into operation at the beginning of January after first seen at a parade in Beijing in 2019.

According to the US military, it is accurate to within a few yards and is capable of "extreme maneuvers" and "evasive actions".

Its relatively low cost means the Chinese military can fire scores of them if a first attempt fails.

Recently, there was a separate scandal over reports of Chinese spy balloons being shot down over the US.

Eerie pictures showed the gigantic Chinese spy balloon the size of three buses which was spotted lurking over the US.

Nicholas Eftimiades, a retired veteran US Department of Defense intelligence official and a visiting senior research fellow at King's College London, has warned of China's "whole of society" approach to espionage.

"I can give you a dozen reasons they would do it for scientific and environmental reasons and a dozen military applications," he said,

"You use lasers to measure different levels of the upper and lower atmosphere. You can identify wind patterns and density layers.

"This has applications for many forms of aviation ranging from civil transport and hypersonic missiles.

"Use of lasers in the upper atmosphere helps to determine pollution levels and in the case of Hawaii, things like distribution of volcanic ash.

"Lasers hitting the ground are used to develop 3-D topographical maps.

"These maps are used to develop everything from geographically based apps to support cruise missiles and other forms of precision strike."

Eftimiades said he believes there are questions that need to be answered about the Chiense activity.

"Was China doing this satellite based lazing across the Pacific before and after Hawaii?

"If not, we can probably rule out atmospheric testing for environmental purposes.

"Why would China care? What would be the scientific and environmental reasons China would care about the atmospheric conditions in Hawaii?"