China takes lead in hypersonic arms race against US & Russia for 21,000mph nukes

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China appears to have taken a staggering lead in the hypersonic arms race as world powers battle it out for the next generation of destructive nuclear weapons.

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The revelations that Beijing has flown nuclear-capable missiles around the world throws hypersonics down a weapon for the US, Russia and other nations pursuing North Korea.

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US intelligence and military officials were reportedly stunned when China launched a rocket into space carrying a hypersonic glide vehicle, which circled the globe before speeding toward its target.

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The next generation of weapons could hit speeds of up to 21,000 mph – and potentially even faster – and is seen as a devastating new frontier for warfare.

Hypersonic missiles are a game changer because unlike ballistic missiles, which fly into space before returning to a steep trajectory, they zoom in on targets at low altitudes.

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This combined with a typical speed of five times the speed of sound – or nearly 4,000mph – makes them extremely difficult to shoot down and a powerful weapon more countries want to get their hands on.

China – then Russia – was already regarded as having the most powerful hypersonic missile arsenal, pouring in billions, but others were seen as catching on.

But the shocking revelations of his missile test in August sent shock waves through Western intelligence, who fear he may have actually underestimated Beijing.

US intelligence and military officials were reportedly stunned when China launched a rocket into space carrying a hypersonic glide vehicle, which circled the globe before speeding toward its target.

Rounding the globe, it shows the weapon potentially has a range of about 25,000 miles and can operate in space.

This means that the missile can theoretically hit anywhere on Earth.

The nuclear-capable missile missed its target about two dozen miles when launched covertly, intelligence sources said. financial Times.

But the chilling test has worried US officials and shows how China has made astonishing progress on the development of its hypersonic weapons, sources said.

“We don’t know how they did it,” an intelligence source said.

Taylor Frawell, an expert on Chinese nuclear weapons policy, said a hypersonic glide vehicle equipped with a nuclear weapon could help China “negate” US missile defense systems.

Frawell said: “Hypersonic glide vehicles … fly on a lower trajectory and can maneuver in flight, making them difficult to track and destroy.”

He warned that it would be “untenable” if China fully developed and deployed such a weapon.

And the revelations come as China and the US have been warned of flirting with the risk of war as they continue to dispute Taiwan.

The hypersonic missile was tested on a Long March 2C rocket, shown here launching the Shenzhou-13 spacecraft.

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The hypersonic missile was tested on a Long March 2C rocket, shown here launching the Shenzhou-13 spacecraft.credit: getty
China appears to have made astonishing progress in the development of its hypersonic weapons

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China appears to have made astonishing progress in the development of its hypersonic weaponscredit: Getty Images – Getty

This follows North Korea’s announcement that it had joined the hypersonic club in late September, with Kim Jong-un’s regime saying it had launched a missile called the Hwasong-8.

North Korea’s news agency said the weapons development had increased North Korea’s defense capabilities “thousand times”.

And the US tested its hypersonic weapon just a day after Kim announced the firing of missiles.

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, or DARPA, said a free flight test of the hypersonic air-breathing weapon concept took place last week.

Unlike the public shows made by its rivals, the US has concealed the test in secrecy, such that its extent has been kept secret.

“Investments in hypersonic strikes have begun to respond to the advances of the likes of Russia and China,” said Tom Caraco, an analyst at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

An important part of the hypersonic missile concept is the glide vehicle, which is carried by rocket to about 30 miles above Earth but then detaches.

arms race

The glide vehicle then hits Earth using gravity.

Earlier this year, the Russian military announced that it had tested a hypersonic missile it claimed is capable of evading all Western defense.

Lethal Zircon was launched at a speed of Mach 7 on a land target from the Admiral Gorshkov battleship in the White Sea off the northwest coast of Russia.

Zircon has been identified by Moscow’s state-controlled TV as Putin’s weapon of choice to wipe out coastal American cities in the event of a nuclear conflict.

The Kremlin also has a 21,000mph Avangard hypersonic glide vehicle in its arsenal, which was reportedly put into service in 2019.

China alone has invested an additional £151 billion in military spending this year – an increase of 6.8 percent – as it seeks to expand its claim in the South China Sea.

It is being spent amid fears of an arms race between Asian powers heading towards a new Cold War in the world.

speed demon

Among its hypersonic missiles is the DF-26, which state media claims can reach speeds up to 18 times the speed of sound.

It is capable of traveling far enough to detonate the US territory of Guam in the Pacific Ocean.

The missile can carry conventional or nuclear warheads, and one type is said to be capable of taking out carrier groups in the open sea.

China also announced that it is developing a hypersonic weapon designed to generate a rapid electromagnetic pulse that would wipe out communications and power supply lines.

The missile, which has a range of 2,000 miles and can travel at speeds up to six times the speed of sound, is designed to detonate a chemical over a city and cripple it within seconds.

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