• Sun
  • Dec 28, 2014
  • Updated: 11:20pm
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."

 

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ldAsia
US Atomic bomb technology was helped with German Scientists. 30% of America space programs, defense technologies and Silicon valley high tech are naturalized citizens PhD from Asia. If you take them all out, American technology might set back 20 years. If you take out Asian students in Univ of Calif, you might well remove 30% to 50% of Chinese students. Whoever they come from, they could be the American citizens who are contributing to America and pay taxes. No discrimination against Asians here. There are 300,000 foreign students from China to US now. Some of them could become future US Citizens too. And don't underestimate the new communist China. They might not reach American technology level today. But China is rising fast and it has smart people and cash. China is now investing in Navy and military. In addition: China ranks number one country in publishing the quality scientific paper in the professional world. They develop and own the fastest train on earth with 300 mph and many other humbled countries are reaping this successful technology. Worst of all, many people (especially the politicians) are afraid of knowing, like an ostrich burying its head into the sand: the Chinese students rank consistently number ONE in Reading, Math, and Science in Global Assessment for the 15 years old among 65 nations. (versus US students ranked 24 in Reading, 35 in Math, 27 in Science; in the 2012 Assessment. These kids are supposed to be the future pillars of the nation!!!!
bunko8@yahoo.com
Then it must be stupid that the US, Russia and India are also developing this too.
nick.morgan.7549
Umm ok..... and why do you need such a thing?
justice_first
one thing is sure, China is puting a lot of talent and resouces in this project of developing hypersonic strike weapon, to break the US containment. China knows it has to do this for survival. Some may expect a laser weapon can destroy such high speed weapon during the re-entry stage, that is, if you can find the weapon. This vehicle, travelling at mach 10, is supposed to be capable of changing its course "in flight", by specific commands. It is not easy to locate the vehicle with any existing computer because its flight path is constantly changing. This is why it is difficult even with a laser weapon.
This is clearly a game changer, because it is so powerful that no missile defense can cope with.
With China's ability to solve the problems relating to a anti-ship, anti-carrier, missile, it is not surprising it is trying to master this hypersonic weapon.
grinolsson
This article is so absurd suggesting that they hypersonic missiles can strike before a defensive response. If any one reviews American military arms, they will find that the Navy and Air Force are using "laser beams" that travel at the speed of light. Not to mention those systems are interfaced with advanced fire control systems - similar to "Iron Dome" that once a projectile reaches a specific airborne speed and direction it is targeted and destroyed. With human being technologies where someone comes up with an advanced idea - it is only a matter of time before it is neutralized by another advanced idea.
ejmciii
Seems to be right on track, ignorant IdAsia. Probably has ____ envy issues.
lamlm38
that was ancient history.. i wonder what would happen if the two countries were to fight again :)

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