February 2, 2023

Raven Tribune

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New missile technology: Pentagon confirms China’s hypersonic test

Status: 10/28/2021 7:37 am

Although Beijing disagrees, the U.S. Defense Department is adamant: the Chinese missile test in August was about hypersonic technology. The Pentagon spoke of an “important event” that was “extremely worrying.”

So far, there have been only speculations, but the Pentagon has now officially confirmed it: China tested a nuclear-capable hypersonic missile in August. Mark Millie, chief of the U.S. Armed Forces, told Bloomberg Television that this was “the most important event in the testing of a hypersonic weapons system.” The test is “very worrying” and the United States is following it “very closely”.

“Very close to the Sputnik moment”

Millie said he did not know if the test of the Chinese hypersonic missile was equivalent to the Sputnik moment, but that it was “very close” to it. The so-called Sputnik shock of 1957 was a completely astonishing flight of the Soviet Sputnik satellite to the western states via Earth’s orbit. No one has ever flown a plane like this before. The event accelerated the arms race and space race.

Last week, the Financial Times reported on a Chinese test of a hypersonic missile. The gliding body orbited the Earth at five times the speed of sound, but missed its target at a distance of 30 kilometers. Initially, the US government and the military did not confirm the test. Robert Wood, the U.S. Permanent Representative to the Disarmament Problems in Geneva, was generally “very concerned” about technological advances in Beijing’s hypersonic missile industry early last week.

Just a regular test?

The Chinese government immediately denied the newspaper reports. This is a routine test for “reusable space technology”, Foreign Office spokesman Zhao Lijian said on Monday. The aim is to reduce the cost of spacecraft and improve the peaceful use of space.

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China has already delivered the hypersonic medium-range missile DF-17 in 2019. It will cover a distance of about 2000 km. According to the “Financial Times”, the test last August was a large range different model.

Fast, flexible and difficult to intercept

“Russia has hypersonic technology, so the United States has no choice but to respond,” Wood said. However, the United States is already expanding its arsenal of hypersonic missiles and is already experimenting with this missile technology.

Such missiles also work in North Korea, combining the benefits of ICBM with ship missiles. On the one hand, they are fast and have long distances. On the other hand, they can be controlled flexibly during flight and are relatively limited in motion, so they can only be detected relatively late by the opposing radar.

With information from Steffen Wurzel, ARD-Studio Shanghai and Claudia Sarre, ARD-Studio Washington