Pentagon confirms Chinese hypersonic missile test in August

Washington confirmed on Wednesday that Beijing launched a nuclear-capable missile in August that circled the Earth in low orbit before descending towards its target, missed by more than 20 miles

The top US official, General Mark Milley, on Wednesday publicly confirmed a hypersonic missile test by Beijing dating from August and revealed in mid-October by the Financial Times, acknowledging that the United States had been taken by surprise.

“What we witnessed is […] a very significant test of a hypersonic weapon system, ”the US chief of staff said in an interview with Bloomberg TV. “He has our full attention.”

He compared this test to the launch in October 1957 by the USSR of the first artificial satellite, Sputnik, which surprised the United States and launched the race for the conquest of space. “I don’t know if it’s exactly like Sputnik but I think it’s very close. “

General Milley is the first US official to publicly confirm information from the Financial Times, which reported that China launched a nuclear-capable missile in August that circled the Earth in low orbit before descending towards its target.

The late United States

Beijing had denied this information, claiming to have carried out a “routine test of a space vehicle, intended to test reusable space vehicle technology”. The missile mentioned by the Financial Times could reach space, be placed in orbit and then pass through the atmosphere before hitting its target.

The United States does not yet have hypersonic missiles in their arsenal, but they are working on them. The Darpa, the scientific arm of the American army, recently announced that it had successfully tested its aerobic-powered HAWC (Hypersonic Air-Breathing Weapon Concept) hypersonic missile, that is to say it uses the oxygen present in the atmosphere for its combustion.

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The Pentagon is also developing a hypersonic glider called ARRW (pronounced Arrow), but its first full-scale test failed last April.

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