China conducts flight test of new DN-3 missile, alleged satellite-killer
The new missile could threaten intelligence and navigation satellites in geosynchronous orbit over China.
XINJIANG, CHINA — China has flight tested a new missile, which the United States and Western defense analysts believe is designed to destroy satellites. On October 30th, China conducted a flight test of it's new Dong Neng-3 missile from the Korla Missile Test Complex, according to The Washington Free Beacon.
The test was China's eighth since 2005. International concern over China's anti-satellite missile program has grown since 2007, when China destroyed a disused weather satellite, littering the space around Earth with debris to this day.
Analyst Bill Gertz writes that the new missile, like it's predecessor the Dong Neng-2, is designed to destroy satellites. China maintains that the missiles are purely defensive, meant to intercept incoming ballistic missiles, not to destroy satellites.
The older DN-2 was a three-stage missile based on a satellite launch vehicle, with a kinetic warhead. The new DN-3 may be a modified DN-2 or a completely new design. A U.S. congressional report says China's anti-satellite missiles can only fly on pre-determined flight paths, and only strikes satellites over China's territory. The report also says that China disguises the missiles' intended purpose by calling the tests "land-based missile interception tests."
In May 2013, a DN-2 missile nearly reached geosynchronous orbit, threatening intelligence and navigation satellites.
Contrails from the October 30 flight test of the DN-3 missile. THE WASHINGTON FREE BEACON
A breakdown of the three stages on the older DN-2 missile. This schematic includes a wing on the first stage, which would only be used for in-atmosphere interceptions. B14643.DE
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