By: Jon E. Dougherty Date: January 26, 2016
(NationalSecurity.news) The Chinese military is moving rapidly to develop and deploy its new hypersonic glide vehicle, conducting six successful tests – the most recent in November – as well as a recent successful test of an anti-satellite missile, U.S. Strategic Command officials said Friday.
As reported by the Washington Free Beacon, Adm. Cecil D. Haley, commander of nuclear forces, said the rigorous testing was part of a concerning military buildup by Beijing, including the Asian giant’s aggressive moves and activities throughout the South China Sea.
“China continues to make significant military investments in their nuclear and conventional capabilities, with their stated goal being that of defending Chinese sovereignty,” Haney told an audience during a speech at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, the WFB reported.
“It recently conducted its sixth successful test of a hypersonic glide vehicle, and as we saw in September last year, is parading missiles clearly displaying their modernization and capability advancements,” he noted.
More: China’s new hypersonic glide vehicle is a nuclear-armed threat that can avoid U.S. missile defenses
The half-dozen tests of the vehicle are considered to be part of a nuclear weapons delivery system that are also designed to avoid missile defenses, U.S. intelligence officials have said. The Washington Free Beacon was first to report on China’s hypersonic glide vehicle.
According to defense officials that spoke to the news site, the last successful glide test occurred Nov. 23 involving a vehicle known as the DF-ZF, which was launched on top of a ballistic missile fired from the Wuzhai test center in central China. The glide vehicle separated from its missile booster and flew between Mach 5 and Mach 10, skirting the edge of space.
In his speech, Haney said all six of China’s glide tests have been successful, an indication that the program is proceeding.
China has been testing its hypersonic vehicle since January 2014, the WFB noted. Haney said the system amounts to a challenge to U.S. deterrent capabilities.
Russia is also developing a hypersonic glide vehicle capability, conducting a test in February 2015. The National Interest reported in June that Moscow plans to field 24 nuclear-armed hypersonic glide vehicles by 2020.
But the United States is also working on a hypersonic capability of its own. As noted by the War is Boring blog in September, the Pentagon is developing its Global Strike Program, “envisioned as allowing America to strike anywhere on the globe nearly instantaneously, without resorting to nukes” but instead using hypersonic glide vehicles that could reach speeds of Mach 20.
That program, while in various stages of development, will likely take years and billions more dollars to effectively field.
Washington Free Beacon
War is Boring
The National Interest