tirsdag 19. oktober 2021

China’s New Orbital Weapon Is A Nuclear Provocation. America’s Response Might Make The Problem Worse.

China’s reported test of a new orbital weapon with nuclear capability is bad news for the United States. But the test also is a rational response to decades of American provocations. And if those provocations don’t end, rivals such as China are sure to develop even more capable nukes. There’s a term for this back-and-forth nuclear escalation. “Arms race.”

Financial Times journalists Demetri Sevastopulo and Kathrin Hille first reported the August test of the potential fractional orbital bombardment system, or FOBS. As its name implies, a FOBS launches like a traditional intercontinental ballistic missile then enters a brief but stable orbit before de-orbiting after just a fraction of a trip around Earth.

Where a traditional ICBM briefly escapes the atmosphere as it predictably arcs toward its target—over the North Pole, in the case of a Soviet or Chinese ICBM heading for the United States—a FOBS actually stays in orbit just long enough that, depending on its trajectory, it can streak toward a target from any of several directions.