• Sat
  • Aug 23, 2014
  • Updated: 2:23am
NewsChina
DEFENCE

China hails first test of hypersonic nuclear missile carrier

US no longer only one with Mach 10 glider that can outfox defences and deliver nuclear warhead

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 15 January, 2014, 4:20am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 15 January, 2014, 8:41am

China has flight-tested a hypersonic missile delivery vehicle capable of penetrating any existing defence system with nuclear warheads, according to the Pentagon.

The hypersonic glide vehicle (HGV), dubbed the "Wu-14" by the United States, was detected flying at 10 times the speed of sound during a test flight over China on Thursday, a Pentagon official told the Washington Free Beacon, an online newspaper. A Pentagon spokesman later confirmed the report but declined to provide details.

"We routinely monitor foreign defence activities and we are aware of the test," Marine Corpsc spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Jeffery Pool told the Beacon.

Chinese military experts yesterday hailed the test as a breakthrough.

It makes China the second country after the US to have successfully tested a hypersonic delivery vehicle capable of carrying nuclear warheads at a speed above Mach 10.

Such a weapon has long been seen as a game-changer by security experts as it can hit a target before any of the existing missile defence systems can react. Once deployed, it could significantly boost China's strategic and conventional missile force.

It is designed to be carried by an intercontinental ballistic missile. Once it reaches an undisclosed sub-orbital altitude, the vehicle jettisons from the rocket and nose-dives towards the target at a speed of Mach 10, or 12,359km/h.

Russia and India are also known to be working on such a weapon.

In 2010, the US tested the Lockheed HTV-2 - a similar delivery vehicle capable of reaching speeds of up to Mach 20.

Last week's test shows that China has managed to close the gaps with the US. Chinese scientists said China had put "enormous investment" into the project.

More than 100 teams from leading research institutes and universities have been involved in the project.

Purpose-built facilities test various parts of the weapons system. The Chinese Academy of Sciences, for instance, has recently built one of the world's largest and most advanced hypersonic wind tunnels to simulate flights at up to Mach 15 at the Institute of Mechanics in Beijing.

Professor Wang Yuhui , a researcher on hypersonic flight control at Nanjing University of Aeronautics and Astronautics, said she was not surprised by the test last week because China was technologically ready.

The objective of hypersonic vehicles was to outmanoeuvre and penetrate a missile defence system, she said.

"With a speed of Mach 10 or higher, it cannot be caught or tracked because defence systems don't have enough time to respond," Wang said.

She said the US remained the indisputable leader in the field but no country was ready to deploy the first practical hypersonic missile as many technological challenges remained. One outstanding issue was how to achieve precise flight control at such high speeds.

Scientists are also trying to develop a better "super material" that can withstand the high temperatures during hypersonic flights.

"I am sure many tests will be carried out after last week's flight to solve the problems," Wang said. "It's just the beginning."

Li Jie , a Beijing-based naval expert, said hypersonic weapons were of strategic and tactical importance to China.

"Many technical issues have not been solved and no country has made it ready for use in the field," he said.

"But it is a challenge we must surmount, and we are throwing everything we have at it."

Ni Lexiong , a Shanghai-based naval expert, said China might still need some time to catch up with the US but the day could arrive sooner than many expect. "Missiles will play a dominant role in warfare and China has a very clear idea of what is important."

 

Share

Related topics

For unlimited access to:

SCMP.com SCMP Tablet Edition SCMP Mobile Edition 10-year news archive
 
 

 

27

This article is now closed to comments

ldAsia
Ignorant! Does not know anything about the world - probably high school dropout.
ejmciii
Seems to be right on track, ignorant IdAsia. Probably has ____ envy issues.
be.way.5
Jealousy of someone doing better than the redneck, is bad for your health.
See doctor please
req
Didn't the Chinese invent rockets in 1200 AD?
lamlm38
yup.. we did invent paper as well without which those white trash would still be uneducated and stupid!!! we should remind them every time they wipe those dirty ****s!!!!
ognevodd
It's amazing how Chinese are eager to praise PLA, which would be happy to kill their own people whenever ordered to do so. They truly believe that the army brings them liberation, believing that they are the victims and will one day bring revenge to the whole world. What a convenient narrative to keep the party at the helm and keep people enslaved.
be.way.5
You must be blind and dumb not to see the obvious that the warmonger U.S military has already killed millions of people around the world for the last 60 years. Have your sense of principle, morality and humanity gone to the dog. Now tell us how many has PLA killed so far for you to spread all these lies, deceit and disinformation.
norodnik
Not sure of the headcount but I know Vietnam kicked China's butt when Deng Xiao Ping invaded his Socialist brother's homeland in '78-79...
sam.gillespie.184
The death count was very low for both sides and the PLA certainly did not unleashed full force. It's matter of academics as who won the fight but you would never see the type of atrocities that is being committed in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq today. And don't forget agent orange in Vietnam.
lamlm38
that was ancient history.. i wonder what would happen if the two countries were to fight again :)

Pages

 
 
 
 
 

Login

SCMP.com Account

or