China Pushes Forward Hypersonic Missile Tests

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China has conducted four hypersonic weapons tests in just 18 months, a sign of its continued efforts to make advanced weapons.

Hypersonic weapon delivery vehicles can reach supersonic speeds more than five times the speed of sound (Mach 5 and above).

China confirmed conducting test flights of the new hypersonic missile delivery vehicles, most recently on June 9, but Beijing insisted that the testing of these vehicles, capable of delivering nuclear warheads with record breaking speed, is “purely scientific and not targeted at any country.”

The United States, Russia and India also have been developing hypersonic vehicles intended to counter hostile missile and space defenses and developed for precise targeting and rapid delivery of weapons.

◆ Catching up to the U.S.?

Even though one of China’s four tests reportedly failed, and China still lags far behind the United States in missile technology, it is developing hypersonic capability at a fast pace and could overtake the U.S. in the future, according to James Acton, co-director of the Nuclear Policy Program and senior associate at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.  Acton spoke at a Congressional breakfast on missile threats last week.

“I would very tentatively suggest, very tentatively, that the available evidence implies that Chinese hypersonic glide development is significantly less advanced than the United States at the moment,” Acton said. But “that is not to deny that it can develop more quickly and that the U.S. lead isn’t forever,” he added.

Full article: China Pushes Forward Hypersonic Missile Tests (The Chosun Ilbo)

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