LONDON, England: A U.S. Space Force proposal to base a radar system in Britain to monitor spacecraft up to 22,400 miles from earth has received the support of the head of the Royal Air Force.
Air Chief Marshal Sir Michael Wigston, meeting in the United States to review the proposal, said Britain is "very interested" in hosting an element of the Deep Space Advanced Radar Capability being developed by the Space and Missile Systems Center of the U.S. Space Force.
The American project would double the range of detection of objects in space, using an array of 10 to 15 large satellite dishes placed in an area of 0.4 square miles.
Each dish would be about 50 feet in diameter. Additional sites housing satellite dishes would be located in Texas and Australia.
In May it was announced that the U.S. Space Force would seek proposals to develop deep space radar sensors that would monitor orbiting satellites and space debris.
Sensors would "detect and track targets, which could potentially be threats to our high-value assets," U.S. Space Force Lt. Col. Jack Walker told the BBC.
"It could be from the Chinese, it could be from the Russians, it could be anti-satellite or it could be debris in space," Walker said.
Systems now in use can only detect objects in space up to 12,400 miles from earth. Walker said the new system could monitor an object the size of a football up to 22,400 miles away.
Western officials have become increasingly concerned that Chinese anti-satellite armaments could threaten U.S. assets in space.
"We see activity by countries like China and Russia which is a cause for concern," Wigston said, in a radio interview in Britain, as quoted by United Press International.
"It is reckless activity, deploying and testing of systems that look like weapons in space, so any system like the radar we are talking about which gives us a better picture of what is going on is incredibly important to us," Wigston added.
The Chinese government responded to the plans on Sunday with concern.
"China and Russia must strongly oppose the U.S. efforts to extend the military competition among major powers into space," an editorial comment in Global Times, a publication of the Chinese Communist Party said, noting that China would oppose construction of the advanced radar system.