‘Sophisticated’ Chinese military becomes first to fire missile from hypersonic aircraft

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The United States has been developing hypersonic missiles for years, although U.S. military officials warn China, and potentially Russia as well, could move forward.

A few days ago, Russian officials said the military fired a hypersonic cruise missile from a warship that hit its test target in the Arctic.

“We are not as advanced as the Chinese or the Russians in terms of hypersonic programs,” General David Thompson, vice chief of space operations, told the Halifax International Security Forum over the weekend. The United States “has to catch up very quickly”.

To catch up, the United States said on Friday it was spending more than $ 60 million (£ 44 million) on developing weapons to protect the country from hypersonic attacks.

In the past five years, China has performed hundreds of hypersonic tests, while the United States has only performed nine, said John Hyten, vice president of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff last week. , on CBS News.

China also appears to be building large missile silos across the country, based on analysis of satellite images.

Beijing’s increasingly belligerent rhetoric, coupled with seemingly increasing military prowess, has raised fears that physical conflict could erupt.

China had previously rejected reports of the hypersonic missile test, saying it was instead part of national space research efforts.

The government has also always maintained that its military program is aimed only at ensuring peace and stability, especially in its own territory. The challenge, however, is for Beijing to claim contested areas considered international waters, and entire swathes that belong to other nations.

Leader Xi Jinping has made it a priority to modernize the country’s military, plunging billions into the development of new weapons.

China’s defense budget for 2021 has been publicly stated at 1.36 trillion yuan (£ 160 billion), although experts generally believe it is spending significantly more than it reveals.

Defense experts have long pointed out that the Chinese military’s biggest flaw is its lack of combat experience, which makes it difficult to know exactly how the soldiers would behave if they were under pressure on the ground.


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