China activated a hypersonic missile into space that went around the Earth, according to a news report. The new nuclear-capable weapon purportedly caught American intelligence personnel by surprise.
In Aug., China hid the launch of a Long March rocket, which was operated by the Chinese National Space Administration. The Long March rocket was supposedly used to launch a hypersonic gliding vehicle into a low-orbit space flight.
While the glide vehicle was in its low-orbit space, it went around the Earth before going down toward its target.
“The missile missed the target by around two-dozen miles, according to three officials briefed on the issue,” the Financial Times said. “But two reported that the test proved that China had made shocking progress on hypersonic weapons and was more advanced than the United States realized.”
“We have no clue how they did this,” an unnamed United States official said to the outlet.
A Chinese security expert with ties to the PLA said these weapons were being created by the Chinese Academy of Aerospace Aerodynamics, a state group that makes missiles and rockets for the nation.
Ratheon says that “hypersonic weapons go faster than five times the speed of sound— which is called Mach 5—covering vast areas in only minutes.”
Taylor Fravel — an expert on China’s nuclear weapons and now professor at MIT — said to Fox News that it would be “destabilizing” if China completely developed hypersonic glide vehicles.
“Hypersonic vehicles…go at lower trajectories and can move in flight, which makes them very hard to track and eliminate,” Fravel said.
Last year, the Pentagon Under Sec. of Defense for Research and Engineering Michael Griffin said that creating hypersonic capabilities was his group’s “highest priority.”
However, the Pentagon stated last week that creating hypersonic weapons was too expensive and instead defense contractors should attempt to “develop affordable hypersonics,” Reuters said.
The Pentagon’s budget request for the 2022 fiscal year on hypersonic research was $3.8 billion which is up from the $3.2 billion of this year.
Russia is also working on its own Avangard hypersonic vehicle, a hypersonic glider that is nuclear-capable and said to be able to fly 27 times faster than the speed of sound and might carry a nuclear weapon of 2 megatons.
China revealed its DF-17 hypersonic glide vehicle at their Beijing military parade in late 2019.
Author: Blake Ambrose