WASHINGTON - The Pentagon today announced that it will be outsourcing future satellite destruction to China, after evaluating the costs of Wednesday's shootdown of a crippled reconnaissance satellite.
The craft destroyed Wednesday was hit 247 kms (153 miles) over the Pacific, using arms designed to subsidize well-connected aerospace companies.
While the Pentagon applauded the results of the test, saying "This gives us a new justification for our 3 trillion dollar AEGIS ballistic missile development program," it was found that manpower costs for the human operators could be reduced from $574,000 when using American Navy technicians to $3,999.99 when using Chinese military operators.
The developers of the missile, a consortium of leading U.S. arms makers, will license their technologies-developed through taxpayer subsidies-to a Chinese state corporation for future missile construction.
"We have found this to be the more profitable way to go. The American worker cannot compete in this field," said Lyle Ywant, a spokesman for the consortium. The missile's guidance system will continue to be manufactured in the United States.
China drew strong criticism from the United States when its January 12, 2007 satellite blasting test scattered tens of thousands of pieces of debris close to orbits crowded with functioning satellites. Rep. Ikebod Skeleton, chairman of the House of Representatives' Armaments Industry Promotion Committee, said that while the U.S. initially opposed the Chinese entering the lucrative Star Wars aerospace sector, their agreement to pay an undisclosed sum to license U.S. missile patents alleviated all of his concerns, including those on the issue of space debris.
Teresa Hickup, head of the Center for Defense Disinformation said that while routine destruction of aging satellites would be outsourced, the U.S. would continue to provide a steady stream of lucrative defense contracts for developing and building offensive space and anti-satellite, or ASAT, weapons.
"Those people working in the defense industry and living in congressional districts dependent on defense industries should rest assured that this outsourcing of routine satellite destruction will not interrupt the flow of government contracts and government money into their districts," she said.