CHINA US laser weapons plan triggers arms race concerns


US laser weapons plan triggers arms race concerns

Global Times

00:51, May 30, 2019


An HH-60H Sea Hawk helicopter lifts off on March 13, 2011 from the guided missile destroyer USS Preble (DDG 88) after refueling. (Photo: IC)

The US plan to equip its warships with high-energy laser weapons in 2021 is a typical tactic to seek military technological dominance by using China's reasonable military development as an excuse, and the unilateral actions of the US will likely trigger an arms race, Chinese military analysts said on Wednesday. 

The US destroyer Preble will be the first to be equipped with the High Energy Laser and Integrated Optical-dazzler With Surveillance system, or HELIOS, in 2021, US military newspaper Stars and Stripes reported on Monday.

HELIOS will function as a faster close-in weapon that uses light beams to "defend against Chinese or Russian cruise missiles," the report said, claiming that China's in-development drone swarm is also a target of the laser.

This is the latest version of the "China threat theory" which the US uses to justify its pursuit of military technological dominance, analysts said.

It is normal and reasonable for China to steadily develop its military capability consistent with its economic development. But the US is again using the "China threat theory" as a scaremongering tactic to gain more funding for new weapons, Li Daguang, a professor at the National Defense University of the People's Liberation Army, told the Global Times on Wednesday.

Compared with the aggressive military build-up of the US, China's military capability building is mainly defense-oriented. But to balance US moves of seeking dominance, China will be forced to respond and strengthen its defense capability, analysts said.

Based in Pearl Harbor, the Preble is a US Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyer, which sailed through the Taiwan Straits and the South China Sea multiple times in May amid the ongoing trade war between China and the US, Reuters reported.

US naval ships have been warned off by China which perhaps made the US realize its ships are not good enough, so they now want lasers, Li noted.

China might have to develop measures to counter the new US weapon, Li said, stressing the US is to blame for a possible arms race.

China is also developing high-energy laser weapons, including the LW-30. Built by the state-owned China Aerospace Science and Industry Corporation, the LW-30 vehicle-based laser defense system can shoot a directional-emission high-energy laser and intercept many kinds of aerial targets, including missiles and drones.

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