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China test-fired hypersonic missile, says Financial Times

China test-fired hypersonic missile, says Financial Times

Posted October. 18, 2021 09:29,   

Updated October. 18, 2021 09:29


China secretively test-fired in August a hypersonic missile that can have a nuclear warhead mounted, the Financial Times reported Saturday by quoting an informed source.

According to the U.K. daily, China’s hypersonic glider vehicle (HGV) flew before falling about 32 kilometers off the target. “The test demonstrated the advancement of China’s hypersonic weapons, which has alarmed U.S. intelligence authorities,” the Financial Times said. The fact China possesses a hypersonic missile was known already, but the test firing has demonstrated that China’s hypersonic weapons technology is more advanced than what Washington previously estimated.

The state-of-the-art weapons system, which is capable of flying at five to 20 times the speed of sound, is known as a game-changer in warfare. A ballistic missile soars into the space to fly in an arc, but a hypersonic missile flies at a low trajectory in the atmosphere before hitting the target instantly. Experts say that the missile could incapacitate missile defense systems of various countries that are designed to target cruise missiles and ballistic missiles.

Hypersonic missiles are capable of hitting a target anywhere in the world within one to two hours, and penetrating missile defense systems. As such, global military powerhouses including the U.S., China and Russia are racing to develop hypersonic missiles. North Korea also joined the foray to develop such a missile by test-firing the Hwasong-8 hypersonic missile on Sept. 28.

Ki-Yong Kim kky@donga.com