China tests hypersonic aircraft that can 'break any missile defense system'

By Liu Xuanzun Source:Global Times Published: 2018/8/5 22:43:40

Hypersonic aircraft can break any missile defense system: expert

China has successfully tested its first waverider hypersonic flight vehicle, a weapon that can carry nuclear warheads and break through any current generation anti-missile defense system due to its high speed and unpredictable trajectory, Chinese experts said on Sunday.

Designed by the China Academy of Aerospace Aerodynamics under China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation, the Xingkong-2, or Starry Sky-2, was launched in a target range located in Northwest China on Friday, the academy said in a statement released on its WeChat account on Friday.

Launched in a rocket, the waverider was released in the air after about 10 minutes.

It flew independently, made large-angle turning maneuvers, and landed in the targeted area as planned.

The flight vehicle reached 30 kilometers in altitude at Mach 5.5-6, the academy said.

Waverider is a flight vehicle that flies in the atmosphere and uses shockwaves generated by its own hypersonic flight with the air to glide at high speed, Song Zhongping, a military expert and TV commentator, told the Global Times on Sunday.

Various parameters were proved and the flight vehicle was fully recovered, which marks the successful launch of Xingkong-2 and the first flight of a Chinese waverider, according to the statement.

"Announcing the successful test to the public indicates that China must have already made a technological breakthrough with the weapon," Song said.

The waverider is expected to be tested more frequently in future before being handed over for deployment to the People's Liberation Army, he said.

The current generation of anti-missile defense systems is mainly designed to intercept cruise and ballistic missiles, which are either slower or easier to predict, making them possible to intercept.

But the trajectory of a waverider is relatively unpredictable in the glide and it flies so fast that it poses an extreme challenge to current anti-missile defense systems, Song noted.

Any rocket has the potential of launching a waverider, and the waverider can carry both conventional and nuclear warheads, Song said.

Given different targets, the waverider can use different setups to be either a tactical or a strategic weapon, he noted.

"The test showed that China is advancing shoulder to shoulder with the US and Russia," Song said.

In addition to its military use, the hypersonic flight vehicle may also see civil use in the future, a military expert, who asked not to be named, told the Global Times on Sunday.

"If the hypersonic technology matures, it may see other applications including industrial transport," the expert said.

The research is a strategic investment by China, from which many possibilities may derive, according to the expert.

Newspaper headline: China tests Mach 6 flying weapon

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