According to media reports that China had tested a hypersonic missile with a nuclear warhead this year, Beijing denied it and stated that the test was a routine spacecraft test.
The Financial Times reported that Washington was concerned about this, and this Chinese action caught the US intelligence agencies by surprise.
Hypersonic missiles are much more flexible at high speeds than conventional missiles, making them more difficult to intercept.
On Monday (October 18), Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian said at a press conference that the test was a routine test conducted in July to verify the reusable technology of the spacecraft.
“This is not a missile, but a spacecraft,” Zhao Lijian said, adding that it “has great significance for reducing the cost of spacecraft.”
“Financial Times” last Saturday (October 16)PressCiting five unnamed sources, a hypersonic missile was launched in the summer, flew through the near-Earth space orbit, then returned to the atmosphere, and eventually deviated slightly from the target.
The report said: “The test shows that China has made amazing progress in hypersonic weapons, and it is much more advanced than what U.S. officials know.”
What kind of missile is this?
Hypersonic missiles can fly five times the speed of sound and, like ballistic missiles, can carry nuclear warheads.
According to Reuters analysis, it can reach a speed of about 6,200 kilometers per hour. Although it is slower than an intercontinental ballistic missile, its design makes it more flexible and more difficult to intercept when shooting to a target.
According to Reuters, the design of fusion gliding missiles and Fractional Orbital Bombardment System (FOBS) will allow this type of missile to enter space orbit, which makes traditional defense systems have insufficient response time-while intercontinental missiles do not. Will enter space orbit.
Both the United States and the Soviet Union studied FOBS technology during the Cold War. Its destructive power is greater than that of submarine ballistic missile technology, which can also reduce the reaction time of the defense system. The ability to carry nuclear weapons also allows it to increase a country’s nuclear attack power. .
The FOBS technology developed by the Soviet Union was retired in the mid-1980s.
There are reports that the United States has developed a system to prevent hypersonic missiles, but the ability to track and intercept them is still in doubt.
Which countries are studying it?
Last month, North Korea claimed to have successfully tested a new hypersonic missile. In July, Russia also announced similar news, saying that it had launched a missile on a frigate in the White Sea.
In recent military exercises, China demonstrated a device that is suspected to be a hypersonic missile launch pad.
Reuters reported that the United States said in September that it had tested an “air-intake” hypersonic weapon that could fly in the atmosphere like a cruise missile.
Reuters also pointed out that hypersonic weapons and FOBS system technology may break through traditional missile defense systems and early warning, while traditional military powers and some Asian countries continue to seek to develop missile technology will likely trigger an arms race.
Regarding China’s possible progress in this regard, US disarmament ambassador Robert Wood said that the United States is “very concerned” about this and that Washington has been “restraining the development of military applications of this technology.”
However, he said that China and Russia have been “very active” in developing military applications, which means that the United States “must respond.”
“We don’t know how we can guard against this technology, nor China, nor Russia,” he told reporters in Geneva.
Earlier, Mike Gallagher, a Republican member of the U.S. House Armed Services Committee, warned that if Washington continues to maintain its current policy, it will lose its relationship with China within ten years. cold war.
Sino-US relations continue to be tense, and Beijing accuses the Biden administration of hostility towards China.
Many Western countries have also expressed concern about the scale of China’s recent military power.
Michael Shoebridge, director of defense, strategy and national security at the Australian Strategic Policy Institute, said that if the hypersonic missile tests are successful, it will be in line with the “upgrade of nuclear and other offensive weapons.” model.
“I think this is not as serious as China’s development of missile silos or aerial launch of nuclear weapons, or the development of new submarine nuclear weapons,” he said, “but it is in line with the mode of action to increase capabilities without transparency.”
“For Beijing’s strategic thinkers, transparency is an unfamiliar concept,” he said.