China tested hypersonic weapon successfully in August

China tested hypersonic weapon successfully in August

Chinese officials refute the assertion, arguing that the mission was used to test reusable spacecraft technology.

According to a media report, China tested a nuclear-capable hypersonic weapon two months ago, making progress with the technology that startled and frightened US authorities. According to The Financial Times, China fired a Long March rocket topped with a hypersonic glide vehicle in August, although it only missed its objective by around 24 miles (39 kilometres) (Oct. 17).

Five unnamed persons familiar with the launch were quoted in the newspaper, two of which “said the test demonstrated that China had made astonishing progress on hypersonic weapons and was far more advanced than U.S. authorities realised.”

China denied the report, claiming that the August mission was not a concerning one

“This test was a regular spacecraft experiment to check the reusable technology of spacecraft,” Zhao Lijian, a spokesperson for China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, told reporters during a press briefing on Monday (Oct. 18).

“It can give a simple and inexpensive solution for humans to peacefully use space,” Zhao added. “Many companies throughout the world have conducted similar tests.”

Hypersonic vehicles are commonly regarded as the military’s next technological frontier. They fly at least 5 times faster than the sound speed and are highly manoeuvrable, making it difficult to track and seize than inter-continental ballistic missiles that follow predictable trajectories.

Activities by Russia and China

China, Russia, and the United States are all working on hypersonic vehicles and conducting tests. For example, Russia declared just two weeks ago that it had successfully test-fired its new Zircon hypersonic missile from a nuclear submarine. The US military also announced in September that one of its concepts, the Hypersonic Air-breathing Weapon Concept (HAWC), had achieved hypersonic speeds during a recent flight test.

“The HAWC free-flight test exhibited the posibilities that will make hypersonic cruise missiles highly effective tool for warfighters,” says Andrew “Tippy” Knoedler, HAWC programme manager,said in a statement late past month. “With this, we’re one step closer to making HAWC a permanent programme that provides next-generation capability to the US military.”

Hypersonics aren’t just the domain of major world powers, either. North Korea stated last month that it had successfully tested its new Hwasong-8 hypersonic missile. North Korean state media announced that flight a success, but outside experts don’t believe that the vehicle reached hypersonic speeds.

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