Monday, October 18, 2021

China tests nuclear-capable hypersonic missile

China tested a nuclear-capable hypersonic missile in August that circled the globe before speeding towards its target. The missile missed its target by about 25 miles, but the test demonstrated that China had made great progress on hypersonic weapons and was far more advanced than American officials realized. The DF-ZF is a Chinese hypersonic glide vehicle, previously denoted by the Pentagon as WU-14. China has denied all, naturally. “It was not a missile, it was a space vehicle,” ministry mouthpiece Zhao Lijian said.
A hypersonic weapon is a long-range vehicle capable of flying within the planet's atmosphere at hypersonic speed. This capability allows attack on high value targets at the start of a conflict. Possible delivery systems for warheads include:

1) a rocket similar to existing ICBMs, launched from land or via submarine.
2) an air or submarine launched hypersonic cruise missile.
3) a kinetic weapon launched from an orbiting space platform.
Prompt Global Strike (PGS) is the US military's effort to develop a system that can deliver a precision-guided weapon airstrike anywhere in the world within an hour, in a similar manner to a nuclear ICBM. Such a weapon allows a response far more quickly than is possible with conventional forces. The weapon cannot be defended against.
The AHW is designed to provide a 6,000km range with 35 minute time-of-flight and achieve less than ten metre accuracy. It delivers a payload at medium and global ranges, using a hypersonic glider.

The weapon's high manoeuvrability allows it to avoid flight over third party nations when approaching the target. It employs a precision guidance system to home in on the target.
Russia has been working on the Yu-71 hypersonic vehicle for the last several years. Russia could produce up to 24 nuclear-capable Yu-71 by 2025. Russia is planning to deploy both nuclear as well as conventional weapons.

China has conducted flight tests of a 7,000 mile-per-hour maneuvering strike vehicle, the Wu-14 Hypersonic missile. China was also testing extreme maneuvers of a mach 10 (7860 mph) prototype. (The DF-ZF.)