Report: China tested Nuclear Capable Hypersonic Missile

As per report of financial times, China tested a nuclear-capable hypersonic missile in August 2021, demonstrating an advanced space capability.

Findings of the report

  • As per report, launch of the missile was kept secret by China. The missile circled the world before cruising towards its target. However, it missed its mark by about 24 miles.
  • Chinese military launched the rocket carrying hypersonic glide vehicle that flew through low-orbit space.
  • Missile test demonstrate that, China made impressive progress on hypersonic weapons. This test was more advanced than US.
  • As per report, weapon could fly over the South Pole in theory. This will pose a big challenge for US military as its missile defence systems focuses on northern polar route.
  • Report also notes that, China usually announces the launch of its Long March rockets. But concealed the August launch.

Development of hypersonic missiles

Countries like Russia, China and US are developing hypersonic missiles that travel at the speed five times that of sound. However, they run slower than ballistic missiles. These missiles are harder to intercept and can be manoeuvred.

Why China tested this missile?

China developed this missile in the backdrop of increasing US-China rivalry, Chinese pressure on Taiwan as well as standoff between India & China in the eastern Ladakh.

Difference between Hypersonic and Ballistic Missiles

The trajectory of Hypersonic Missiles is not traceable, while trajectory of the Ballistic missiles is traceable.

Hypersonic Missile

The missile through the atmosphere below 90 km at a speed between Mach 5-10. This is a speed where air starts dissociating and high heat loads exits.

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