BEIJING (Reuters) – China tested a nuclear-capable hypersonic missile in August, a feat that took US spy services by surprise, reported the Financial Times, citing five unnamed sources.
The report published late Saturday said the Chinese military launched a rocket carrying a hypersonic glider vehicle that flew through space in low orbit, circling the planet before heading for the target, which was missed by a matter of two dozen kilometers .
“The test showed that China has made amazing progress in hypersonic weapons and is much more advanced than US authorities believed,” the FT report said, citing sources in the area of spying.
China’s Defense Ministry did not immediately respond to a Reuters request for comment on Sunday.
The United States and Russia are also developing hypersonic missiles, and last month North Korea said it had tested a newly developed one.
Ballistic missiles are fired into space, following parabolic trajectories in which they return to the surface at higher speeds. Hypersonic weapons, on the other hand, are harder to face defense because they fly toward targets at lower altitudes and at speeds more than five times that of sound, or about 6,200 kilometers an hour.
At a military parade in 2019, China showcased advances in its weaponry, including the hypersonic missile known as the DF-17.
(By Beijing Newsroom)
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