The lasers will take out US and European satellites from the ground killing off the Washington’s ability to launch intercontinental ballistic missiles in retaliation.
ven basic military communications may become impossible if the super-powered lasers take down key communications network satellites.
Electromagnetic railguns and high-power microwave weapons are also being developed, according to military expert Richard Fisher.
And he claims the push to produce these futuristic weapons is to neutralise US intelligence along with communication and navigation satellites.
Ground-based radars would first be used to identify enemy satellites, with precision targeting ensured by a special camera.
And a deployable membrane telescope would then focus the laser’s beam on the target, before obliterating it.
Mr Fisher said: “The Chinese government would not hesitate to use the lives of its astronauts as a shield to deceive the world about the real purpose of its space station.“
“Having gained the advantage of surprise, the combat space station could begin attacks against key US satellites, thus blinding the US to the launch of new combat satellites that would attack many more US satellites.”
Military secrecy means it is difficult to know the full extent of the laser weapons programmes, which are believed to be capable of destroying enemy satellites in orbit from its position in low-Earth orbit.
But published research has provided some insight into the huge levels of government support being pumped into the development of such arms.
The idea was first proposed by researchers Gao Ming-hui, Zeng Yu-quang and Wang Zhi-hong in the journal Chinese Optics in December 2013.
They claimed anti-satellite weapons will be “very important” in future wars, with the space-based laser systems likely to have a substantial part to play.
It is thought the five-ton chemical laser could even be operational as soon as 2023, if the Chinese military which oversees the country’s space programme can fund the research.
Mr Fisher added: “As long as China demonstrates its willingness to exploit much of its space program for potential military missions, the US must possess options for at least neutralising potential threats, preferably short of threatening lives.”
The news comes just a day after it was revealed China had unveiled its latest military addition to the People’s Liberation Army’s airforce.
The new J20 stealth fighter jets are so advanced, they make Britain’s new US-built F35s look antique in comparison.
The futuristic Chinese aircraft have longer range, more internal fuel capacity and a larger weapons capacity – and equipped with unique WS-15 turbo engines capable of reaching supersonic speeds.
While the F-35’s top speed is 1199mph, the J-20s is a hefty 1,305mph.
However when fully operational the F-35 may offer significant advantage in terms of manoeuvrability as questions hang over the Chinese plane’s air-to-air capability.
The F-35 can also land vertically – meaning it can be used in many more theatres of operations.
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