Pentagon 2IC reveals what US knows about China's Hypersonic Glide Vehicle

Sat, 20 Nov 2021 23:52:39 GMT
Space Daily

Moscow (Sputnik) Nov 18, 2021 Last month, the Financial Times reported that China carried out two...

Last month, the Financial Times reported that China carried out two hypersonic weapons tests of a new "Fractional orbital bombardment" system this past summer involving a hypersonic glide vehicle which America "Does not currently possess." Beijing maintains the testing involved a "Routine" trial of reusable space rocket technology.

Pentagon second-in-command Gen. John Hyten, vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, has offered new details on what the US knows about one of China's recent alleged hypersonic glide vehicle tests.

"They launched a long-range missile. It went around the world, dropped off a hypersonic glide vehicle that glided all the way back to China, that impacted the target in China," Hyten told CBS News on Wednesday, referring to a test said to have taken place on 27 July.

Asked whether China's hypersonic glide vehicle testing warranted a comparison to Sputnik-1 - the artificial satellite launched by the USSR in 1957, which ended up shattering the myth of US global technological supremacy, Hyten suggested that the comparison was relevant, even if it has not been treated as such by US officials and media.

President Joe Biden confirmed to journalists in September that he was "Concerned" about China's hypersonic capabilities, without elaborating.

China is keeping the details on its nuclear modernization programme under wraps.

China's Nuclear Posture It remains unclear what about China's alleged summer 2021 hypersonic glider testing is giving rise to concerns among US officials now, given that the People's Republic has been known to have HGV capability since October 2019 - when the DF-ZF hypersonic glide vehicle was introduced into service with the People's Liberation Army Rocket Force.

The United States has at least seven hypersonic weapons systems of its own in development, but only the Army-Navy 'Common Hypersonic Glide Body' is anywhere close to becoming operational.

China is estimated to have between 350 and 400 nukes in its arsenal, and its nuclear doctrine prohibits the use of these weapons unless the Asian nation is first attacked using nuclear weapons itself.

Earlier this month, a Pentagon report suggested that China was working to grow its nuclear arsenal to over 1,000 warheads by 2030, and to expand its "Nascent nuclear triad." China dismissed the report, suggesting it was "Full of prejudice," and that Washington was trying to "Hype up talk of the China nuclear threat" while the US itself was the "World's largest source of nuclear threat."