China tested a nuclear-capable hypersonic missile in August, showing a capability that took U.S. intelligence by surprise, the Financial Times reported, citing five anonymous sources.
The report said on Saturday evening that the Chinese military launched a rocket carrying a hypersonic glide vehicle that flew over space in low orbit, circling the globe before heading towards its target, which it missed. ‘about two dozen miles.
“The test showed that China has made astonishing progress on hypersonic weapons and is far more advanced than US officials believed,” the report said, citing people with information on the intelligence.
China’s Defense Ministry did not immediately respond to a request for comment faxed to Reuters on Sunday.
The United States and Russia are also developing hypersonic missiles, and last month North Korea said it tested a newly developed hypersonic missile.
During a parade in 2019, China showcased advanced weapons, including its hypersonic missile, known as the DF-17.
Ballistic missiles fly through space before returning to steep paths at higher speeds. Hypersonic weapons are difficult to defend because they fly towards targets at lower altitudes, but can reach more than five times the speed of sound, or about 6,200 km per hour (3,850 mph).
(Edited by : Aditi Gautam)
First publication: STI