March 14, 2011: Last year, China doubled the number of military satellites launched, compared to the average annual launches for the previous five years. In fact, China has launched as many military satellites last year as the United States.
Most of these launches get little, or no, publicity. But many of the new Chinese satellites appear to be surveillance birds of one type or another. Plus, there's a Chinese GPS-type system. The U.S. (and Indian) Navies looks at all this and sees support for the new Chinese DF-21D ballistic missile, that has a warhead fitted with a search radar, to detect and home in on a large ship below. The only way that DF-21D warhead gets a few seconds to scan several hundred square kilometers of ocean where, say, an aircraft carrier moves serenely along, is because of all those surveillance satellites. No more hiding on the high seas, not with all those radar, camera and electronic surveillance satellites up there. China doesn't say a lot about all this. They don't have to. The people who need to get the message, have heard it loud and clear.