A Long March 7 orbital launch vehicle

Long March 7 Rocket Launch in 2017. (AFP)

China, in July of this year, proved that it had achieved a feat that no other nation yet had achieved — the creation, and test, of a Hypersonic missile capable of flying five times the speed of sound. This technology, capable of evading radar and early detection systems, is only hypothetically able to be shot down. Limited tests on stopping this technology have been carried out, leaving many strategic analysts to see this development as a huge blow to US and NATO military defense.

The missile test was launched from a ‘hypersonic glide vehicle,’ a “maneuverable spacecraft that can carry a nuclear warhead, to fire a separate missile mid-flight” according to the Financial Times. It was launched over the South China Sea with no clear target before landing in the ocean.

The worry now is that the Chinese seem intent on circumventing existing US missile defense infrastructure by having their ‘hypersonic glide vehicle’ round the south pole in-flight before the separate missile cruises off at five times the speed of sound. Currently, most US-based missile defense is heavily focused on launches over the North Pole.

China is rapidly expanding its nuclear arsenal, making these threats of missile delivery even more important for Washington and Moscow to look out for. Much continues to heat up between the superpowers, and this development is no exception.

– Liam


Sources:

  • https://www.ft.com/content/a127f6de-f7b1-459e-b7ae-c14ed6a9198c
  • https://spacenews.com/space-force-general-u-s-has-a-lot-of-catching-up-to-do-on-hypersonic-missile-technology/
  • https://www.defensenews.com/pentagon/2021/11/20/heres-the-three-companies-selected-to-design-hypersonic-missile-interceptors-for-mda/

(Sorry for the brevity of the article. I’ve been a bit busy this weekend!)