China has successfully tested its first hypersonic missile

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Defence & Security News - China

 
 
Tuesday, January 14, 2014 07:29 AM
 
China has successfully tested its first hypersonic missile.
China has successfully tested its first hypersonic missile delivery vehicle capable of penetrating US missile defense system and delivering nuclear warheads with record breaking speeds, Pentagon officials have confirmed.
     
China has successfully tested its first hypersonic missile delivery vehicle capable of penetrating US missile defense system and delivering nuclear warheads with record breaking speeds, Pentagon officials have confirmed.
A futurist drawing of U.S. X-51A hypersonic missile attached to the wing of a B-52.
     

The new hypersonic glide vehicle (HGV), dubbed the WU-14 was allegedly spotted flying at record-breaking speeds during a flight test over China on January 9, an anonymous Pentagon official said.

The new weapon delivery system is reportedly designed to be launched as the final stage of China’s intercontinental ballistic missile, which would approach its target at a velocity of up to 10 times the speed of sound. Hypersonic speed range lies between Mach 5 and Mach 10, or 6,180 to 12,360 km/h.

The hypersonic vehicle represents a major step forward in China's secretive strategic nuclear and conventional military and missile programs.

Two Chinese technical papers from December 2012 and April 2013 revealed that the country is developing precision guidance systems designed to be directed via satellite. The second Chinese paper concluded that hypersonic weapons pose “a new aerospace threat.”

The United States, Russia, and China are all engaged in a hypersonic arms race. All three nations are developing high-speed aerospace vehicles. India and Russia are working on the hypersonic Brahmos II, which is expected to be in service by 2013. Cruising at about Mach 6 (7,300 km/h), this scramjet-powered missile will carry six times more kinetic energy than a similar weapon at Mach 1.

A hypersonic cruise missile could flight at 5 times the speed of sound.

The United States has its own hypersonic missile development program. The X-51A Waverider is designed to demonstrate scramjet technology for missiles and spaceplanes. In November 2011, the US Army conducted its first flight test of its new Advanced Hypersonic Weapon (AHW), launching the high-tech bomb from the Pacific Missile Range Facility in Kauai.

This new hypersonic weapon concept is quite unlike the bombs currently in use. The AHW keeps a relatively flat trajectory within the atmosphere, rather than soaring up toward space and then coming back down like a ballistic missile.

 

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