China reportedly tested hypersonic missile in orbit

China continues to advance in hypersonic missile technology. For this, the country has tested a new space capability with this weapon, reported on Saturday. Financial Times (FT).

The article in the British business and financial daily, citing several sources with knowledge of the test, indicates that Beijing launched a nuclear-capable missile in August which circled the Earth in low orbit before descending towards its failed target. over 32 kilometers according to three sources.

The United States taken off course

The sources of FT said the hypersonic glider was carried by a Long March rocket, whose launches are usually announced, while the August test was kept under wraps. Importantly, Chinese advances in hypersonic weapons “took US intelligence by surprise,” according to the article.

Besides Beijing, the United States, Russia and at least five other countries are working on this technology. Hypersonic missiles, like traditional ballistic missiles that can carry nuclear weapons, can fly at more than five times the speed of sound. Ballistic missiles fly high in space by making an arc to reach their target, while a hypersonic missile takes a low trajectory in the atmosphere, potentially hitting its target faster. Importantly, a hypersonic missile is maneuverable (like a much slower, often subsonic cruise missile), which makes it more difficult to follow and counter.

Strong tensions between Beijing and Washington

Countries like the United States have developed systems designed to defend against cruise and ballistic missiles, but the ability to track and shoot down a hypersonic missile is unknown. China has developed the technology offensively, seeing it as crucial in defending itself against US advances in hypersonic and other technologies, according to a recent report by the US Congressional Research Service (CRS).

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The test reported by the Financial Times Further comes as US-China tensions escalate and Beijing has stepped up military activities near Taiwan.

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