China Claims Starlink Satellites Now Easy Prey Thanks To ‘Tech Breakthrough’ In Electronic Warfare

Chinese researchers, for the very first time, have reportedly managed to monitor & analyze the complete electromagnetic spectrum in real time. This is another set of extraordinary claims emerging from Beijing regarding its electronic warfare (EW) capabilities.

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This so-called advancement is even asserted to have the capability to disrupt the operations of Elon Musk’s Starlink satellites. 

The Chinese media outlet SCMP reported the news, asserting that following this key technological breakthrough in electronic warfare by Chinese researchers, adversaries on the battlefield will have “nowhere to hide.” 

According to the researchers, the Chinese military will leverage this technology to detect and target enemy signals swiftly, decode their physical parameters nearly instantaneously, and effectively suppress them—all while maintaining a seamless communication flow.

Emphasizing that the new electromagnetic spectrum monitoring equipment is compact, high-performing, and energy-efficient, Chinese scientists underscored its potential to revolutionize warfare tactics.

(For representational purposes) Chinese Electronic Warfare Systems on 6×6-wheeled CTL181A Dongfeng Menshi armored vehicles. Credits: Twitter/Jesus Roman

Previously deemed unattainable due to the vast amount of data to be processed during combat, the real-time analysis bandwidth of traditional spectrum monitoring systems was limited to the 40-160 MHz range.

Signals beyond this range, particularly high-frequency ones, were typically overlooked using sampling scans, risking the oversight of crucial information.

The Chinese team claims their new equipment extends seamless detection real-time monitoring into the gigahertz zone, encompassing frequencies used by amateur radio enthusiasts and Starlink satellites. 

Consequently, even if the US military switches to civilian frequencies or emits short pulse signals, the Chinese army can still capture and analyze them, potentially disrupting wireless communications between US military units.

The scientists developed a series of new signal-processing chips to achieve this enhanced capability. The mention of Elon Musk’s Starlink satellites underscores China’s growing concerns about the system’s capabilities, particularly given its demonstrated effectiveness in the Ukraine conflict.

Chinese officials have frequently emphasized the need to neutralize or eliminate these satellites if they threaten national security. 

Starlink has played a crucial role in Ukraine’s war efforts, facilitating communication, target identification, and public visibility through uploaded videos. Its resilience to jamming is a concern for China because of potential ramifications for Taiwan—an issue of territorial dispute.

Granting Taiwan access to Starlink would significantly impede a potential Chinese invasion. Moreover, through Starlink, China is wary of America’s perceived territorial dominance in low-Earth orbit. China has initiated initiatives akin to Starlink to assert its influence in this domain.

China’s Claims On Electronic Warfare

Electronic warfare is at the forefront of modern military strategies and undergoing relentless technological advancements. The imperative to assert dominance in deploying such technology is widely recognized, as failure is perceived as conceding ground in territorial conflicts.

Sophisticated electronic warfare (EW) weaponry can neutralize enemy armaments and radar systems while disrupting adversaries’ communication, navigation, and intelligence-gathering abilities within contested regions.

Amidst this evolving landscape, China is actively engaged in fierce competition with the United States to secure supremacy in the electromagnetic spectrum. 

Despite the opacity surrounding the specifics of the electronic warfare capabilities of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA), Chinese media outlets have reported a series of notable breakthroughs in both technologies and strategic approaches to electronic warfare.

One such instance occurred in early January of 2024 when reports surfaced indicating Chinese researchers had unveiled a groundbreaking design for a new generation electronic warfare weapon. 

This weapon system purportedly can emit multiple concentrated beams of electromagnetic waves from a singular antenna, facilitating simultaneous targeting of aerial, maritime, and terrestrial targets, potentially disrupting their operations.

File: Shenyang A good clear photo of the Shenyang J-16D Electronic Attack/Electronic Warfare aircraft.

Furthermore, on January 19, 2024, Chinese media claimed that Chinese scientists simulated an assault on US naval vessels. This simulation involved the launch of a barrage of missiles supported by a fleet of low-orbit electronic warfare satellites strategically positioned above an American aircraft carrier.

A contributing factor to the rapid advancement of China’s military electromagnetic technology is attributed by some Chinese scientists to the nation’s leading telecommunications industry.

Major Chinese telecommunications corporations, notably Huawei, have invested substantially in cutting-edge wireless communication technologies, yielding significant dividends.

In contrast, the United States has increasingly relied on European companies such as Ericsson and Nokia for equipment and technology essential in constructing its 5G networks. However, these networks pale in comparison to China’s expansive infrastructure.