China's new hypersonic missile innovation: How it will power planes & missiles

 | Updated: May 14, 2022, 03:31 PM IST

Chinese scientists have been working on hypersonic technology for years.

China's new hypersonic air-breathing engine

As China, Russia and the US along with the North Korea battle each other in hypersonic technology, reports say China has tested a new air-breathing engine during a simulated flight test achieving hypersonic speed.

The new innovation would reportedly help to power a plane or a missile upto to five times the speed of sound, or maybe even faster and the rotating detonation engine could provide both velocity and fuel economy in the future.  


Representational Image

Representational Image


Is YJ-21 more powerful than DF-21D missile?

The  YJ-21 is reportedly a ship-launched version of the ground-based DF-21D missile. China had earlier tested anti-ship ballistic missiles in the Xinjiang desert. US believes China is developing weapons to neutralise American warships. China wants to develop long-range precision strikes against ships

US Navy regularly conducts operations in South China Sea which angers Beijing. China claims the majority of South China Sea islands. Taiwan is another point of friction between the US and China.


Chinese missiles

China has been developing anti-ship missiles for years, including ones capable of taking out aircraft carriers.

In November satellite pictures showed what appeared to be full-scale outlines of American warships including an aircraft carrier, satellite imagery showed, possible targets to practise striking some of the most potent US weapons deployed in the Pacific.

The US Navy's carrier battle groups - centered around massive aircraft carriers -- are among the most powerful weapons in the American arsenal.


NASA's hypersonic missiles

According to reports, NASA is working on creating a new hypersonic missile which can optimise missiles for maximum range and destruction. The technology allows the AI component to use the result of computational fluid dynamic (CFD) to work around a design of a scramjet missile.

As a result, the hypersonic missile would be faster with a longer range than any missile produced by other nations.

According to technology writer Will Lockett hypersonic missiles travel at over Mach 5 speed. Lockett explains: "Scramjet stands for supersonic combustion ramjet, and they work in exactly the same way as a jet on a plane, except with no moving parts."

The US recently tested the DARPA HAWC (Hypersonic Air-breathing Weapon Concept), Lockett informs. He says the scramjet hypersonic missile is set to be next-generation technology which the US is working on.

NASA's AI can therefore design a hypersonic missile that is far faster and with greater range.


US joins hypersonic race

Amid the Ukraine war, the US military said it has tested a new hypersonic missile. The US conducted an aircraft-launched hypersonic missile test. The missile maintained a speed of more than Mach 5, or five times the speed of sound.

Hypersonic missiles pose a potential threat to the global military balance. They can deliver nuclear weapons precisely on target at speeds too fast to intercept.

Weapons travelling at hypersonic speed allow attackers to overcome defence installations.


US B-52 bombers

Hypersonic weapons and air and missile defense are key priorities of the United States Department of Defense's National Defense Strategy

The Air-Launched Rapid Response Weapon (ARRW) program matures critical technologies to high speed flight and accelerates the weaponization of Hypersonic strike capabilities, according to Lockheed Martin.

The hypersonic systems provide advantages in terms of speed to target, manoeuvrability and survivability to reach hard and well-defended targets.

At hypersonic speeds, friction and air resistance create an incredible amount of heat, which needs to be managed through tough but lightweight heat shields and thermal protection systems. Sensors and electronics must also be hardened to withstand extreme conditions, the company highlighted.


B-52 bombers

Hypersonic systems are designed to operate in contested environments and must be capable of overcoming a wide range of defenses with the system moving at a mile every second needs to operate with an incredible degree of precise maneuverability.

Basic operations like communications become a significant challenge during hypersonic flight. The system has to maintain connectivity to operators and decisionmakers through a global communications and sensor systems.

The missile was built with tactical hardware and instrumented to collect thermal, mechanical and digital data from the flight vehicle through a telemetry stream and an on-board data recorder.