CHINESE, RUSSIAN HYPERSONIC WEAPONS
China recently disclosed details of its high-priority program to build ultra-high-speed maneuvering missiles, as Russia is advanc- ing its hypersonic weapons.
The Chinese program, which had been shrouded in secrecy, includes a nationwide research and technology program that has achieved what experts say is rapid advancement toward fielding weapons capable of defeating strategic missile defenses.
China’s disclosures were made in early March during a conference on space planes and hypersonic systems, Aviation Week reported from China.
“While progress in some specific defense areas — most notably the recent flight tests of the DF-ZF/WU-14 hypersonic glide vehicles — was not discussed, the progress indicated by the underlying research makes it readily apparent that China is making strides in hypersonic capability much faster than previously thought,” the magazine reported on April 14.
The Chinese for the first time showed off an image of a scramjet-powered missile that can fly at speeds of up to Mach 7 (5,370 miles per hour) and at an altitude of 18.7 miles.
China’s other system is the DF-ZF, a hypersonic glider that launched on a missile and maneuvers to its target. That system has been tested six times and has raised concerns in the U.S. military.
Air Force Gen. John E. Hyten, Strategic Command commander, told Congress this month that China’s development of hypersonic weapons was undermining U.S. nuclear deterrence strategy. In Russia, Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry
Rogozin said on April 20 that Moscow’s highspeed arms development is comparable to those of the United States.
“We have said about it before, about the fact that we are developing our own systems within the framework of the issues related not to supersonic, but to hypersonic weapons on an equal level with the United States,” Mr. Rogozin said.
“However, I would not like to comment on every leak connected to some sources in the defense industry or in the defense ministry.”
He was referring to reports on Moscow’s Zircon hypersonic cruise missiles.
Russia’s Defense Ministry announced April 16 that some hypersonic weapons and other advanced arms will be deployed with the Russian military by 2025.
The Pentagon is developing a space plane that
could be used as a hypersonic weapon. It is also researching a scramjet-powered hypersonic missile and a hypersonic attack glider.