China's hypersonic missile can stay in orbit longer, claims US Space Force General

WION Web Team
Washington Published: Dec 01, 2021, 06:04 PM(IST)

Chinese military vehicles carry DF-17 hypersonic missiles Photograph:( Reuters )

Story highlights

Hypersonic missiles can travel over Mach 5 speed. The tests conducted by China in August had surprised many defence officials in the West. Reports claimed China had conducted two hypersonic tests. 

After reports claimed China had recently tested two hypersonic missiles, a top official from the US Space Force claimed China's hypersonic weapon can stay in space over an extended period.

Space Force Lieutenant General Chance Saltzman said: "This is a categorically different system, because a fractional orbit is different than suborbital, a fractional orbit means it can stay on orbit as long as the user determines and then it de-orbits it as a part of the flight path."

Read in Pics: In dogfight over Himalayas between India's Rafale vs China's J-20 stealth fighter, who wins?

Hypersonic missiles can travel over Mach 5 speed. The tests conducted by China in August had surprised many defence officials in the West. Reports claimed China had conducted two hypersonic tests. 

In fact, China's state-owned company had claimed earlier that it had tested a Mach 8 wind tunnel FL-64 and was ready for testing including "weapon separation and delivery".

Watch: Can China mount a hypersonic missile attack on America?

Saltzman while calling it is a "destabilising weapon" informed that ballistic missiles were earlier the "primary threat".

US general Mark Milley had described China's hypersonic test as a "Sputnik moment" which acted as a wake-up call for the American defence forces.

Also Read: ARRW: How US-built hypersonic missile will change warfare dynamics

London's Financial Times had reported China's hypersonic missile had circled the Earth at a low altitude while travelling faster than Mach 5 speed although it missed its target. 

The missile reportedly went undetected by existing radars raising fears over China's new missile capability.

Also Read: Zircon hypersonic missile hits target in latest test, says Russia

The Xi regime however denied it conducted a hypersonic test asserting that it had tested a spacecraft. Russia and North Korea have also tested hypersonic missiles.

China had unveiled the DF-17 medium-range hypersonic missile two years ago with a range of nearly 2,000 kilometres. However, the latest hypersonic missile fired by China reportedly has a much longer range and it can be launched into orbit before coming back to hit its target in the atmosphere.

(With inputs from Agencies)

Read in App