China fires 'hypersonic missile' that circles globe before hitting target
The missile has nuclear potential
China has launched its first hypersonic missile test, firing a nuclear-capable projectile that circled the Earth before hitting it's intended target.
As reported by the Financial Times, the new "hypersonic glide vehicle" was launched alongside the country's ‘Long March’ rocket as it carried the Chang’e 5 lunar probe. The test itself actually took place back in August.
— The Rage X | Warzone (@thewarrage) October 17, 2021
Five people believed to be aware of the test said the missile "flew through low-orbit space before cruising down towards its target" and ultimately missing by over two-dozen miles. However, two of those admitted that the military technology was seriously impressive and "for more advanced than US officials realised".
Perhaps the most alarming detail about the whole situation is that when intelligence sources were asked what information they knew about the test, one person said, “We have no idea how they did this.”
While many nations are developing similar technology, most notably Russia and America, Taylor Fravel - an expert on Chinese nuclear weapons policy - said that if such glide vehicles were armed with a nuclear warhead, it could “negate” US missile defence systems.
China tests a new hypersonic missile that can fly in the earth's thermosphere pic.twitter.com/rtEtvU28YZ
— TRT World Now (@TRTWorldNow) October 17, 2021
Hypersonic glide vehicles are launched into space on a rocket but orbit the earth under their own momentum; they fly at five times the speed of sound and although they travel slower than ballistic missiles, they do not follow a fixed trajectory, making them harder to track and destroy as they can be manoeuvred at lower altitudes.
A Chinese spokesperson, Liu Pengyu, insisted that the nation has always maintained a military policy that is “defensive in nature”, reassuring that the missile was a test and not intended for any particular target.
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