Tag Archives: China

Top Navy Officer FIRED by Obama For Exposing Massive Chinese Threat to U

Top Navy Officer FIRED by Obama For Exposing Massive  Chinese Threat to US

Another patriot bites the dust for exposing Obama’s criminal actions. When will Americans wake up to the tyranny going on? 

President Barack Obama’s been on a roll when it comes to firing military officers — especially those who aren’t afraid to speak out against the administration and expose what’s really happening behind the scenes.

That seems to be the case with Capt. James Fanell, a senior Navy intelligence leader who wasrelieved from his position as the U.S. Pacific Fleet’s director of intelligence and information operations because he made public information about China that Obama didn’t want you to hear.

His comments, now being labeled “provocative,” revealed that after a recent Chinese amphibious exercise, naval intelligence officials assessed that China’s strategy was to be able to launch a “short, sharp war,” with Japan.

Fannell said the following about Chinese naval intentions: “(We believe) the (People’s Liberation Army) has been given the new task to be able to conduct a short, sharp war to destroy Japanese forces in the East China Sea following with what can only be expected (as) a seizure of the Senkakus or even southern Ryukyu (islands).”

Those actions could potentially lead to something along the lines of World War III.

Chinese China Obama

According to Pentagon brass, this information runs counter to their daily talking points about “building ties” with the Chinese Navy, a force which appears to be more assertive than ever before.

Adm. Harry Harris, in charge of PACFLT, relieved Fannel from his position as an intelligence director. According to Military Times, he was reassigned as an aid to Rear Adm. Randy Crites at PACFLT’s maritime headquarters — which is a long fall from his previous position.

In other words, he was punished for exposing a massive threat to the United States that Obama and his administration didn’t want you to know about.

You don’t say? A true Chicago thug taking out anyone who raises the alarm 

Fannell reportedly has plenty of support within the naval intelligence community for voicing his views on China’s growing aggression toward countries like Japan and even the United States.

As a 29-year naval intelligence officer, Fannell has more credibility and insider knowledge than most others in his branch of service.

We salute Capt. Fannell for having the bravery to expose the growing threat from China, regardless of the consequences.

China submarines outnumber U.S. fleet: U.S. admiral

China submarines outnumber U.S. fleet: U.S. admiral

submarine missile launch
Submarine missile launch

(Reuters) – China is building some “fairly amazing submarines” and now has more diesel- and nuclear-powered vessels than the United States, a top U.S. Navy admiral told U.S. lawmakers on Wednesday, although he said their quality was inferior.

Vice Admiral Joseph Mulloy, deputy chief of naval operations for capabilities and resources, told the House Armed Services Committee’s seapower subcommittee that China was also expanding the geographic areas of operation for its submarines, and their length of deployment.

For instance, China had carried out three deployments in the Indian Ocean, and had kept vessels out at sea for 95 days, Mulloy said.

“We know they are out experimenting and looking at operating and clearly want to be in this world of advanced submarines,” Mulloy told the committee.

U.S. military officials in recent months have grown increasingly vocal about China’s military buildup and launched a major push to ensure that U.S. military technology stays ahead of rapid advances by China and Russia.

Mulloy said the quality of China’s submarines was lower than those built by the United States, but the size of its undersea fleet had now surpassed that of the U.S. fleet. A spokeswoman said the U.S. Navy had 71 commissioned U.S. submarines.

U.S. submarines are built by Huntington Ingalls Industries Inc. and General Dynamics Corp.

In its last annual report to Congress about China’s military and security developments, the Pentagon said China had 77 principal surface combatant ships, more than 60 submarines, 55 large and medium amphibious ships, and about 85 missile-equipped small combatants.

Mulloy did not provide details about the number of surface ships now operated by China.

He said the U.S. military did not believe China carried nuclear missiles on its submarines, but that it had been producing missiles and testing them.

(Reporting by Andrea Shalal; editing by Gunna Dickson)

‘Equation’ cyberspies use unrivaled, NSA-style techniques to hit Iran, Russia

‘Equation’ cyberspies use unrivaled, NSA-style techniques to hit Iran, Russia


equation cyberspies
A group of cyberspies called Equation that uses similar techniques as the NSA has struck at least 30 countries using never-before-seen malware that infects hard disk drives. Credit: Screenshot courtesy of Kaspersky Labs

The group’s attack on hard-drive firmware is one of the most advanced ever discovered, Kaspersky Lab said.

A cyberespionage group with a toolset similar to ones used by U.S. intelligence agencies has infiltrated key institutions in countries including Iran and Russia.

Kaspersky Lab released a report Monday that said the tools were created by the “Equation” group, which it stopped short of linking to the U.S. National Security Agency.

The tools, exploits and malware used by the group — named after its penchant for encryption — have strong similarities with NSA techniques described in top-secret documents leaked in 2013.

Countries hit the most by Equation include Iran, Russia, Pakistan, Afghanistan, India and China. Targets in those countries included the military, telecommunications, embassies, government, research institutions and Islamic scholars, Kaspersky said.

Kaspersky’s most striking finding is Equation’s ability to infect the firmware of a hard drive, or the low-level code that acts as an interface between hardware and software.

The malware reprograms the hard drive’s firmware, creating hidden sectors on the drive that can only be accessed through a secret API (application programming interface). Once installed, the malware is impossible to remove: disk formatting and reinstalling the OS doesn’t affect it, and the hidden storage sector remains.

“Theoretically, we were aware of this possibility, but as far as I know this is the only case ever that we have seen of an attacker having such an incredibly advanced capability,” said Costin Raiu, director of Kaspersky Lab’s global research and analysis team, in a phone interview Monday.

Drives made by Seagate Technology, Western Digital Technologies, Hitachi, Samsung Electronics and Toshiba can be modified by two of Equation’s hard disk drive malware platforms, “Equationdrug” and “Grayfish.”

The report said Equation has knowledge of the drives that goes way beyond public documentation released by vendors.

Equation knows sets of unique ATA commands used by hard drive vendors to format their products. Most ATA commands are public, as they comprise a standard that ensures a hard drive is compatible with just about any kind of computer.

But there are undocumented ATA commands used by vendors for functions such as internal storage and error correction, Raiu said. “In essence, they are a closed operating system,” he said.

Obtaining such specific ATA codes would likely require access to that documentation, which could cost a lot of money, Raiu said.

The ability to reprogram the firmware of just one kind of drive would be “incredibly complex,” Raiu. Being able to do that for many kinds of drives from many brands is “close to impossible,” he said.

“To be honest, I don’t think there’s any other group in the world that has this capability,” Raiu said.

It appears Equation has been far, far ahead of the security industry. It’s almost impossible to detect this kind of tampering, Raiu said. Reflashing the drive, or replacing its firmware, is also not foolproof, since some types of modules in some types of firmware are persistent and can’t be reformatted, he said.

Given the high value of this exploitation technique, Equation very selectively deployed it.

“During our research, we’ve only identified a few victims who were targeted by this,” Kaspersky’s report said. “This indicates that it is probably only kept for the most valuable victims or for some very unusual circumstances.”

Another of Kaspersky’s intriguing findings is Fanny, a computer worm created in 2008 that was used against targets in the Middle East and Asia.

To infect computers, Fanny used two zero-day exploits — the term for a software attack that uses an unknown software vulnerability — that were also coded into Stuxnet, Kaspersky said. Stuxnet, also a Windows worm, was used to sabotage Iran’s uranium enrichment operations. It is thought to be a joint project between the U.S. and Israel.

It’s unlikely the use of the same zero-days was a coincidence. Kaspersky wrote that the similar use of the vulnerabilities means that the Equation group and the Stuxnet developers are “either the same or working closely together.”

“They are definitely connected,” Raiu said.

Both Stuxnet and Fanny were designed to penetrate “air-gapped” networks, or those isolated from the Internet, Kaspersky said.

The Equation group also used “interdiction” techniques similar to those used by the NSA in order to deliver malicious software to targets.

Kaspersky described how some participants of a scientific conference held in Houston later received a CD-ROM of materials. The CD contained two zero-day exploits and a rarely-seen malware doorstop nicknamed “Doublefantasy.”

It is unknown how the CDs were tampered with or replaced. “We do not believe the conference organizers did this on purpose,” Kaspersky said. But such a combination of exploits and malware “don’t end up on a CD by accident,” it said.

The NSA’s Office of Tailored Access Operations (TAO) specializes in intercepting deliveries of new computer equipment, one of the most successful methods of tapping into computers, wrote Der Spiegel in December 2013, citing a top secret document.

The German publication was one of several that had access to tens of thousands of spy agency documents leaked by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden.

Kaspersky uncovered the trail of the Equation group after investigating a computer belonging to a research institute in the Middle East that appeared to be the Typhoid Mary for advanced malware.

Raiu said the machine had French, Russian and Spanish APT (advanced persistent threat) samples on it among others, showing it had been targeted by many groups. It also had a strange malicious driver, Raiu said, which upon investigation lead to the extensive command-and-control infrastructure used by Equation.

Kaspersky analysts found more than 300 domains connected with Equation, with the oldest one registered in 1996. Some of the domain name registrations were due to expire, so Kaspersky registered around 20 of them, Raiu said.

Most of the domain names aren’t used by Equation anymore, he said. But three are still active. The activity, however, doesn’t lend much of a clue as to what Equation is up to these days, as the group changed its tactics in late 2013.

“Those three [domains] are very interesting,” Raiu said. “We just don’t know what malware is being used.”

Send news tips and comments to jeremy_kirk@idg.com. Follow me on Twitter: @jeremy_kirk

Chinese Woman Discovers Husband Cheating, Cuts ‘It’ Off…Twice!

Chinese Woman Discovers Husband Cheating, Cuts ‘It’ Off…Twice!


A Chinese woman recently proved true the time-old adage, “Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned.” After discovering her husband to be cheating, the woman cut off the man’s penis not once, but twice.

The incident took place in the city of Shangqiu, where 32-year-old Fan Lung used his wife’s cell phone to send an email to his lover, 21-year-old Zhang Hung. Unfortunately for Fan, he forgot to log out of his email before returning his wife’s phone.

Fan’s wife, 30-year-old Feng Lung, later came across the two-timing father-of-five’s message to his mistress along with a few other emails. As expected, she flew off the handle. In a fit of rage, the betrayed wife grabbed a pair of scissors, went into the room where her husband slept, and chopped off his penis.

Fan was taken to a hospital where surgeons reattached his member, but Feng wasn’t done with her husband yet. Shortly following the procedure, Fan’s wife sneaked into the hospital, located her husband, and once again separating his manhood from his body – this time throwing the appendage out the window.

Woman Discovers Man To Be Cheating, Does Something About It… TWICE

As one could imagine, Fan didn’t take the assault too lightly and acted out. According to a hospital spokesman, “The first we were aware of what happened was when someone came into the reception area to say a naked man was beating up a woman outside the hospital.”

“Staff rushed out to see what was happening and found the patient with blood streaming down his legs hitting the woman,” he continued. “He was stopped and the woman was taken in for treatment, and then we discovered she had chopped his penis off again.”

Both doctors and police thoroughly searched the area for the man’s missing body part, but they came up empty. Those involved speculate it may have been taken by a stray dog or cat.

Woman Discovers Man To Be Cheating, Does Something About It… TWICE

“The man had lost a lot of blood and was taken in for emergency surgery. He is now in a stable condition but is extremely emotionally distraught,” the hospital spokesman said.

Fan’s lover has since shown up to the hospital and is said to be caring for the injured man. Explaining that she plans to marry Fan as soon as they’re able to do so, she said, “It doesn’t matter that he’s lost his fertility, he has five children already.”

Upon being discharged from the hospital, Feng was arrested and charged with grievous bodily harm.

Families seek answers after 36 die in Shanghai New Year’s Eve stampede

Families seek answers after 36 die in Shanghai New Year’s Eve stampede

SHANGHAI –  People unable to contact friends and relatives streamed into hospitals Thursday, anxious for information after a stampede during New Year’s celebrations in Shanghai’s historic waterfront area killed 36 people in the worst disaster to hit one of China’s showcase cities in recent years.

The Shanghai government said 47 others received hospital treatment, including 13 who were seriously injured, after the chaos about a half-hour before midnight. Seven of the injured people had left hospitals by Thursday afternoon.

The Shanghai government information office said one Taiwanese was among the dead, and two Taiwanese and one Malaysian were among the injured.

The deaths and injuries occurred at Chen Yi Square in Shanghai’s popular riverfront Bund area, an avenue lined with art deco buildings from the 1920s and 1930s when Shanghai was home to international banks and trading houses.

The area is often jammed with people during major events.

Andrew Jordan Shainker, a 28-year-old American who said he watched the disaster unfold from a restaurant, told The Wall Street Journal, “It was utter chaos.”

At one of the hospitals where the injured were being treated, police brought out photos of unidentified dead victims, causing dozens of waiting relatives to crowd around. Not everyone could see, and young women who looked at the photos broke into tears when they recognized someone.

A saleswoman in her 20s, who declined to give her name, said she had been celebrating with three friends. “I heard people screaming, someone fell, people shouted `don’t rush,”‘ she said. “There were so many people and I couldn’t stand properly.” She added that she still could not contact one of her friends.

The official Xinhua News Agency quoted a woman with the surname Yin who was caught with her 12-year-old son in the middle of crowds of people pushing to go up and down steps leading from the square.

“Then people started to fall down, row by row,” Yin said. When her son was finally brought to safety, he had shoe prints over his clothes, “his forehead was bruised, he had two deep creased scars on his neck, and his mouth and nose were bleeding,” she said.

Xia Shujie, vice president of Shanghai No. 1 People’s Hospital, told reporters that some of the victims had been suffocated.

At the hospital, which was guarded by police, a man who would give only his surname, Li, said he had identified his wife’s cousin among the dead.

Relatives desperately seeking information earlier tried to push past hospital guards, who used a bench to hold them back. Police later allowed family members into the hospital.

CCTV America, the U.S. version of state broadcaster China Central Television, posted a video of Shanghai streets after the stampede showing piles of discarded shoes amid the debris.

One photo from the scene shared by Xinhua showed at least one person doing chest compressions on a shirtless man while several other people lay on the ground nearby, amid debris. Another photo showed the area ringed by police.

On Thursday morning, dozens of police officers were in the area and tourists continued to wander by the square, a small patch of grass dominated by a statue of Chen Yi, the city’s first Communist mayor.

Steps lead down from the square to a road across from several buildings.

“We were down the stairs and wanted to move up and those who were upstairs wanted to move down, so we were pushed down by the people coming from upstairs,” an injured man told Shanghai TV. “All those trying to move up fell down on the stairs.”

Xinhua quoted witness Wu Tao as saying some people had scrambled for coupons that looked like dollar bills bearing the name of a bar that were being thrown out of a third-floor window. But police dismissed speculation that the coupons had triggered the stampede, saying they were thrown after the tragedy. The cause of the stampede was still under investigation.

Last week, the English-language Shanghai Daily reported that the annual New Year’s Eve countdown on the Bund that normally attracts about 300,000 people had been canceled, apparently because of crowd control issues. The report said a “toned-down” version of the event would be held instead but that it would not be open to the public.

The stampede appeared to be near that area. The city apparently did not expect that so many people would assemble there and was not adequately prepared.

Forbes Calls For Review Of US-China Military Engagement

Forbes Calls For Review Of US-China Military Engagement

Beijing continues aggressive maneuvers despite increased cooperation

Chinese military aircraft jets plane

A top lawmaker is urging the Pentagon to review its military engagement policy with China amid concerns that cooperation has provided more benefits to Beijing and failed to convince the Chinese military to cease aggressive actions in the Asia-Pacific.

Rep. Randy Forbes (R., Va.), leader of the House Armed Services Committee’s Seapower and Projection Forces Subcommittee, sent a letter on Wednesday to Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel and Deputy Secretary of Defense Robert Work. Forbes requested a “review of the [Defense] Department’s current mil-mil engagement policy with China, ideally as part of a larger [Pentagon] review of U.S security objectives in the region.”

“I believe that the Department currently lacks the thorough guidance and oversight mechanisms necessary to maintain a consistent mil-mil policy that best serves U.S. national security objectives over the ‘long-haul’ of the emerging U.S.-China peacetime competition,” he wrote.

Forbes said he could point to “multiple examples” where various defense officials, including Hagel’s office and the Pacific Command commander, “were pursuing multiple, divergent mil-mil engagement objectives.”

Several concerns have been raised about U.S.-China military cooperation. In May, Chinese Gen. Fang Fenghui visited the aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan in San Diego—a potential violation of provisions in the National Defense Authorization Act for fiscal year 2000. The law forbids military exchanges with China in areas such as “force projection operations,” but the Pentagon said at the time that it did not view the visit as a breach of the act.

A retired Chinese admiral later told a state news agency that Gen. Fang acquired valuable information about the Reagan’s capabilities.

“While our engagements demonstrate our military capabilities to China, enhancing our deterrent to a degree, I am concerned that they also have the potential to decrease China’s uncertainty about possible responses to their actions, which may only cause China to conclude that it can take more risks,” Forbes wrote in his letter.

Chinese Stealth J-31 fighter jet China stealth stolen US
Chinese Stealth J-31 fighter jet China stealth stolen US

Additionally, China conducted flight tests last month of its new J-31 stealth fighter jet, an aircraft that allegedly contains technology stolen from the U.S. F-35 Joint Strike Fighter (see story). The Chinese military is suspected of obtaining the F-35 secrets through cyber attacks on a Lockheed Martin subcontractor. While the tests occurred, President Barack Obama was pressing Chinese leaders at an Asian economic summit to reduce incidences of cyber theft.

Obama also reached military agreements at the summit with Chinese President Xi Jinping that aimed to avoid future conflicts in Asia.

Forbes said in his letter that “there is no indication that more engagement has helped to shape Beijing’s actions in a positive direction consistent with U.S. objectives.”

“To the contrary, as we have increased our mil-mil engagement over the past two years, China’s actions have only turned more coercive,” he said. “As our military chiefs have increased their relationships with their counterparts (individuals who can, at any time, order Chinese vessels and aircraft to stand down from taking provocative actions), reckless incidents at sea and in the air have continued to occur and China has resorted to new forms of coercion against its neighbors in the East and South China Seas.”

China has employed increasingly aggressive actions to claim disputed territory in the Asia-Pacific region, such as erecting structures on islands claimed by the Philippines. The Chinese military has also engaged in recent encounters with U.S. planes and ships that the Pentagon has described as “dangerous.”

A Chinese fighter jet in August came within 20 feet of a U.S. anti-submarine warfare aircraft in international airspace, and a Chinese tank landing ship almost forced a collision with the USS Cowpens in December in the South China Sea.

The incidents came as China continues a years-long buildup in its conventional, nuclear, and cyber warfare capabilities. China also recently conducted a third flight test for its new hypersonic strike vehicle that is part of Beijing’s program to penetrate U.S. strategic missile defenses.

Forbes said that while he does “not subscribe to an alarmist school about the emergence of a strong [People’s Republic of China] … I do believe China has the potential to pose the greatest challenge to the liberal-international order since the end of the Cold War.”

A Pentagon spokesman declined to comment about the letter and said a response would be sent directly to Forbes, not the press.

Sony hit again, employee families threatened, files released

Sony hit again, employee families threatened, files released

Andrea Mandell and Elizabeth Weise, USATODAY

CULVER CITY, Calif. — Sony staffers received a new email from hackers Friday, this time threatening their families, from the group that calls itself the Guardians of Peace or the “GOP.”

At the same time, someone purporting to be the GOP released another, massive, file dump on Friday, posting them on a sharing site called Pastebin.

“It’s over 100 gigabytes,” said Daniel Tentler, with the security firm Carbon Dynamics. He is dissecting the file.

The posting was titled “Gift of GOP for 3rd day: Financial data of Sony Pictures.”

The file was compressed and it wasn’t immediately clear what it contained. However, whoever posted it claimed it included “many pieces of confidential data” in the accompanying message.

The message also read, “Anyone who loves peace can be our member. Please tell your mind at the email address below if you share our intention.” The email directed readers to a site that gives users anonymous, disposable email addresses.

In a final line,which could mean that Sony will have its private data dripped slowly out into public arena, the message read, “The data to be released next week will excite you more.”

These two secondary assaults come after Sony has spent all week shifting email to new servers, instructing staffers to change passwords, and turning back the clock to old-school time-punch cards in order to process employees’ payment.

All of these efforts were made by Sony to thwart another attack by the GOP (easily confused with the political party). But an email – somewhat garbled in style – that landed in many staffers inboxes on Friday proved Sony’s scramble is so far insufficient.

The email included a warning to all Sony employees who did not assist the GOP that their families could land in harm’s way, according to a person unauthorized to speak publicly about the situation. Sony employees have been instructed to turn off mobile and tablet devices.

“We understand that some of our employees have received an email claiming to be from GOP,” Robert Lawson, a spokesperson for Sony, told USA TODAY. “We are aware of the situation and are working with law enforcement.”

The FBI said they were also aware of the GOP’s latest threat.”The FBI is aware of threatening emails that have been received by some employees at Sony Pictures Entertainment,” said FBI press officer Joshua Campbell in a statement. “We continue to investigate this matter in order to identify the person or group responsible for the recent attack on the Sony Pictures network.”

Sony has had computer security teams working round the clock to rescue what they can from the company’s crippled servers since the initial attack was discovered on Nov. 24.

At the time, company officials had all staffers stay off of email and avoid the company’s internal WiFi network, to maintain security while they tried to rebuild. Some have suggested that the attack is in retaliation for a forthcoming comedy produced by Sony called The Interview. North Korea has denied any involvement.

A new round of emails threatening staff could signal that the attackers didn’t simply commit one of the largest hit-and-run cyber attacks on a U.S. company, but intend to continue toying with the firm as it struggles to get back on its feet.

Read the email in full, per Variety(emphasis added).

I am the head of GOP who made you worry.

Removing Sony Pictures on earth is a very tiny work for our group which is a worldwide organization. And what we have done so far is only a small part of our further plan.It’s your false if you if you think this crisis will be over after some time. All hope will leave you and Sony Pictures will collapse. This situation is only due to Sony Pictures. Sony Pictures is responsible for whatever the result is. Sony Pictues clings to what is good to nobody from the beginning. It’s silly to expect in Sony Pictures to take off us. Sony Pictures makes only useless efforts. One beside you can be our member.

Many things beyond imagination will happen at many places of the world. Our agents find themselves act in necessary places. Please sign your name to object the false of the company at the email address below if you don’t want to suffer damage. If you don’t, not only you but your family will be in danger.

Nobody can prevent us, but the only way is to follow our demand. If you want to prevent us, make your company behave wisely.

77 Chinese nationals arrested for Internet hacking in Kenya

77 Chinese nationals arrested for Internet hacking in Kenya

hacking hack hacked

NAIROBI, Kenya — Police in Kenya are consulting technical experts to determine if 77 Chinese nationals arrested with advanced communications equipment in several houses in an upscale Nairobi neighborhood were committing espionage, an official said Thursday.

The Chinese were arrested since the weekend with equipment that Kenya’s Daily Nation newspaper said was capable of hacking into government servers.

“We have roped in experts to tell us if they were committing crimes of espionage,” said Ndegwa Muhoro, the head of criminal investigations for Kenya’s police. “These people seem to have been brought here specifically for a mission which we are investigating.”

The arrests began on Sunday, when computer equipment in one of the upscale houses the Chinese nationals had rented near the U.S. Embassy and U.N. headquarters caught fire, killing one person.

Police said it appeared the group was manufacturing ATM cards, and that the suspects may have been involved in money laundering and Internet fraud. The case has caught the attention of the highest levels of Kenya’s government as authorities investigate whether the group was also engaging in espionage.

The minister of foreign affairs and the minister of information communications and technology both were on hand Wednesday as police arrested 40 people. The Chinese ambassador was summoned to the foreign affairs ministry over the arrests.

The 37 suspects arrested Sunday were charged with operating an illegal radio station. Many of those arrested cannot speak English and some don’t have identification such as a passport, police detective Nicholas Kisavi said.

Chinese government suspected in massive U.S. Postal Service hacking

A woman at China’s embassy in Kenya told The Associated Press on Thursday to call back on Friday to speak with an embassy spokesman.

Fred Matiang’l, an official in Kenya’s ministry of information, communications and technology, told the Daily Nation that China has promised to send investigators to Kenya to work on the case.

Last month, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said that four of its websites were recently hacked by an “Internet-sourced attack.” Rep. Frank Wolf (R-Va.) told CBS News that NOAA officials told him they believe China was behind the attack.

China Conducts Third Flight Test of Hypersonic Strike Vehicle

China Conducts Third Flight Test of Hypersonic Strike Vehicle

Missile-launched Wu-14 glide vehicle designed for nuclear strike against U.S. through missile defenses

An artistic rendering of a hypersonic aircraft / AP

China conducted the third flight test of a new hypersonic missile this week as part of its strategic nuclear program and efforts to develop delivery vehicles capable of defeating U.S. countermeasures, defense officials said.

The flight test of the developmental Wu-14 hypersonic glide vehicle was monitored by U.S. intelligence agencies Tuesday during a flight test in western China.

The latest flight test followed earlier tests of the Wu-14 on Jan. 9 and Aug. 7. The three tests indicate that China’s development of a strike vehicle capable of traveling up to eight times the speed of sound is a high-priority element in China’s large-scale military buildup.

A Pentagon spokesman confirmed the test but declined to provide details.

“We are aware of reports regarding this test and we routinely monitor foreign defense activities,” Marine Corps Lt. Col. Jeff Pool told the Washington Free Beacon.

“However, we don’t comment on our intelligence or assessments of foreign weapon systems,” Pool added, noting that the Pentagon has encouraged China to adopt greater openness with regard to its defense investments and military objectives “to avoid miscalculation.”

Last month in Beijing, the United States and China agreed to a new military accord that called for notifying each country of major military activities. It could not be learned if the Chinese notified the Pentagon in advance of the Wu-14 test.

The Wu-14 was launched atop a Chinese ballistic missile and released along the edge of space.

Past tests of the glide vehicle were clocked as reaching an estimated speed of Mach 10, or 10 times the speed of sound—around 7,680 miles per hour.

Such speeds create difficult aeronautics and physics challenges for guidance systems and place extreme stress on materials used in construction of the vehicle.

The annual report of the congressional U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission, made public Nov. 20, reveals China’s hypersonic weapons program is a major development effort.

The report said the People’s Liberation Army “is developing hypersonic glide vehicles as a core component of its next-generation precision strike capability.”

“Hypersonic glide vehicles could render existing U.S. missile defense systems less effective and potentially obsolete,” the report said.

The report said once deployed the Wu-14 “could enable China to conduct kinetic strikes anywhere in the world within minutes to hours.”

China plans to deploy its high-speed glide vehicle by 2020 and a scramjet powered hypersonic vehicle by 2025.

Lee Fuell, technical director for force modernization and employment at the National Air and Space Intelligence Center (NASIC), told the Commission that Chinese glide vehicle is launched on a ballistic missile, dives to hypersonic speed and glides to its target. The weapon currently is assessed to be “associated with [China’s] nuclear deterrent forces.”

“Of great concern would be if [China] was to apply the same technology and capability with a conventional warhead or even just without a warhead because of the kinetic energy that it has in combination with their theater ballistic missiles … in a theater role,” Fuell said.

The intelligence analyst said that hypersonic vehicles “are extremely difficult to defend against because just the time is so compressed between initial detection, being able to get a track, being able to get a fire control solution, and then just being able to have a weapon that can intercept them in some way just because of the speed at which they’re moving.”

“If that is combined with more traditional ballistic missile attacks forcing a target to defend against very high aspect warheads coming in this way at the same time they have to defend against low altitude, very high speed targets coming in [another] way, it makes the defense problem orders of magnitude worse for the defender,” he said.

The commission report stated that China is expanding its strategic nuclear forces “significantly,” with deployment of new missiles, submarines, and multiple-warhead weapons.

Rick Fisher, a China military affairs analyst, said more tests are needed for China to turn the Wu-14 into a working weapon.

“But the real story is that such a program is now well underway,” said Fisher, with the International Assessment and Strategy Center. “For hypersonic systems, all tests, failures, and successes, provide a positive contribution toward the goal of developing a weapon.”

The Wu-14 is part of what military analysts have said in a growing hypersonic arms race involving China, Russia, and the United States.

Russia’s government announced last month that Moscow plans to field hypersonic missiles by 2020.

By contrast, U.S. development of a hypersonic weapons program has been limited.

The Aug. 25 test of the Army’s Advanced Hypersonic Weapon ended in disaster after the booster launching the weapon blew up shortly after launch from a test base on Kodiak Island, Alaska.

Funding for hypersonic weapons development also has been limited to around $360 million dollars, an amount critics say is small compared to estimated investments by China.

“It is now necessary for the United States to substantially increase funding in two areas,” Fisher, the China military analyst said. “First the U.S. must expand and accelerate its own hypersonic weapons program.”

The Pentagon should fund several types of hypersonic systems in a development competition, Fisher said, as well as further research in counter-hypersonic arms.

Past Pentagon research has included development of both guided-but-unpowered glide vehicles, and high-technology scramjet-powered hypersonic vehicles.

A space plane called the X-37 also is being developed as part of a program known as conventional Prompt Global Strike.

U.S. intelligence analysts have said the current Chinese Wu-14 program is currently part of its strategic nuclear program. However, China also could use the Wu-14 as part of its conventional strike program, such as planning attacks on aircraft carriers in the western Pacific.

“While missile based counter-systems may provide an early solution, there is much more potential in the realm of energy weapons,” Fisher said.

“For example, rail guns offer great potential for early solutions to maneuvering hypersonic weapons and this technology deserves much greater funding,” he said.

Fisher also said the United States should increase capabilities for targeting China’s space and high altitude reconnaissance and surveillance systems, to include satellites.

“These will be absolutely necessary for China to successfully employ its long range hypersonic weapons,” he said.

A Chinese Embassy spokesman could not be reached for comment.

Lora Saalman, an expert on China’s hypersonic development at the Carnegie Endowment, said after China’s second Wu-14 test in August that the closeness of the first two tests showed that Beijing is “fast-tracking” the strategic program.

“When compared with the yearly gaps in between its [anti-satellite] and [ballistic missile defense] tests in 2007, 2010, 2013, and 2014, the Wu-14 accelerates China’s development timeline exponentially,” she said in an email in August.

Saalman believes the Wu-14 is part of a Chinese version of the U.S. conventional Prompt Global Strike program.