Jan 14, 2014
China tests high-speed missile to beat U.S. defenses
The test of the new hypersonic glide vehicle was carried out Jan. 9 and the experimental weapon is being dubbed the WU-14 by the Pentagon.
The hypersonic vehicle represents a major step forward in China’s secretive strategic nuclear and conventional military and missile programs.
The new hypersonic vehicle was detected traveling at extremely high speeds during the flight test over China.
The hypersonic craft appears designed to be launched atop one of China’s intercontinental ballistic missiles, and then glides and maneuvers at speeds of up to 10 times the speed of sound from near space en route to its target.
A Pentagon spokesman confirmed the test but declined to provide details.
United States, Russia, and China are all engaged in a hypersonic arms race. All three nations are developing high-speed aerospace vehicles. India is also developing a hypersonic variant of its BrahMos cruise missile.
The military advantages of hypersonic craft include precise targeting, very rapid delivery of weapons, and greater survivability against missile and space defenses.
Hypersonic speed is between Mach 5 to Mach 10.
China is also developing a hypersonic, scramjet-powered vehicle that can take off independently or be launched from a bomber.