CHINA has just taken a huge step ahead of the United States in military technology, launching the first hypersonic missile.
THE world has just entered a new phase of warfare.
It’s one where no potential target is safe.
It’s one where reaction times are miniscule.
It’s one where the United States not longer holds the technical lead.
China has just successfully conducted flight tests of the production model of what is called the DF-17 ballistic missile. What makes this weapon different to other ballistic missiles is that it is designed to carry what is known as a hypersonic glide vehicle (HGV).
“Hypersonic missiles are a new class of threat because they are capable both of manoeuvring and of flying faster than 5000 kilometres per hour, which would enable such missiles to penetrate most missile defences and to further compress the timelines for response by a nation under attack,” a recent report from international affairs think-tank RAND Corporation warns.
These gliders are finely engineered, arrow-shaped craft capable of carrying nuclear or conventional warheads at incredible speeds. They travel so fast through the atmosphere (greater than 5000km/h) they must be built to withstand temperatures that would melt meteors, and must be engineered perfectly to avoid tumbling wildly out of control.
But not only can they travel unbelievably fast, they may also be able to guide themselves towards an intended target.
This renders almost all current missile defence systems obsolete.
The Diplomat reports an anonymous US government source as confirming the recent test launch of two of the missiles — one on November 1, and another on November 15.
“The missile is explicitly designed for operational HGV implementation and not as a test bed,” the source told The Diplomat. It was “the first HGV test in the world using a system intended to be fielded operationally”.
The tests had been timed shortly after the Communist Party’s 19th Party Congress in October where President Xi Jinping cemented his hold on power.
H/t reader kevin a.
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