MOSCOW, 28 Oct 2021, RUSSTRAT Institute.
According to new information from the Financial Times newspaper, the Chinese military conducted not one, but two tests of hypersonic weapons during the summer of 2021. The tests took place on July 27 and August 13.
The first report of the Financial Times was dated October 16, 2021. The publication refers to data received from five unnamed persons associated with the US intelligence community. In general, the picture of the test from August 13, 2021 looks like this.
The Chang Zheng 2C two-stage launch vehicle brought the aircraft (hypersonic gliding unit) into the calculated orbit and accelerated the product to the required speed. This device went beyond the Earth’s atmosphere, made a turn around the Earth and went down to the target. The hypersonic gliding unit failed to accurately hit the target and deviated from it by about 20 miles.
Thus, we can conclude that the test was generally successful, but the guidance system of the combat unit needs to be finalised. The most important features of China’s experienced strategic hypersonic missile system are the global range and the ability to hit a target anywhere in the world. In addition, hypersonic speed and manoeuvrability dramatically complicate the detection, tracking and subsequent interception of the combat unit. It is obvious that this product may in the future carry a conventional or nuclear warhead.
The Financial Times newspaper noted that this test of China’s hypersonic weapons “took American intelligence by surprise”.
Admiral Charles Richard, head of the US Strategic Command, described this event more broadly, saying in an interview with the Stars and Stripes newspaper during a visit to Stuttgart, Germany, on October 18, 2021, that China’s achievements allow it to “implement any possible strategy for using nuclear weapons”. “It seems that we cannot live a month without some new revelation about China. I am not surprised by such reports. I won’t be surprised when another report comes out next month,” Charles Richard said.
So, what potential threat does the new Chinese hypersonic weapon pose to the United States? The global range of the destruction of the hypersonic missile system of China makes it possible to bypass the American missile defence system located in the northern hemisphere, due to the flight path over the South Pole of the Earth. Such flight characteristics of Chinese hypersonic weapons make the US missile defence absolutely useless.
It should be noted that over two decades, the US Missile Defence Agency has spent $163 billion on the creation of a missile defence system, and plans to spend another 45 billion in the period from 2020 to 2024.
There is another point that the United States is trying not to talk about publicly. We are talking about the potential launch of nuclear weapons into space with the help of American X-37 spacecraft. This program has been developing since 2010, when the first such device was launched into space.
Currently, according to the CEO of the Almaz-Antey concern, Yan Novikov, there are already six of them: two types, large and small. These devices have free capacities and capabilities that allow a small device to carry up to three nuclear warheads, and a large one – up to six.
Thus, the United States itself initiated an arms race in outer space, moreover, it is a nuclear one, and now they are concerned about a potential nuclear strike by China from outer space, which they are unable to repel.
It should be noted that Moscow and Beijing have been trying for a long time to bring Washington to the negotiating table on the prevention of an arms race in outer space. Moreover, a joint Russian-Chinese draft “Treaty on the Prevention of the Placement of Weapons in Outer Space, the Threat or Use of Force against Outer Space Objects” has even been prepared. However, the United States in every way avoids discussing these problems.
There is reason to believe that China’s success in creating new hypersonic weapons will eventually make the United States more compliant in preventing the militarisation of outer space. In addition, as Hu Xijin, the editor-in-chief of the Chinese newspaper Global Times, noted on Twitter on October 17, 2021, in response to the first publication in the Financial Times, Beijing will improve its nuclear deterrence to “ensure that the United States will abandon the idea of nuclearly blackmailing China”.