News / Asia

China Confirms Hypersonic Missile Delivery Test

FILE - An undated photo shows a Chinese C-802 naval missile.
FILE - An undated photo shows a Chinese C-802 naval missile.
VOA News
China has conducted an experimental flight of a hypersonic missile delivery vehicle designed to travel several times faster than the speed of sound.

Beijing's Defense Ministry did not comment on the outcome of the test, which it called scientific in nature and not targeted at any particular country.

Larry Wortzel, a commissioner with the U.S.- China Economic and Security Review Commission, said China's military development indicates it is clearly focused on one country as a potential adversary.

"Chinese military planners really seem convinced that their most likely enemy and their greatest potential threat is the United States.  They have a lot of other concerns.  Things are not great with Russia even though they buy a lot.  Things are a lot worse with Japan.  But they focus on us [U.S.] and they focus on our [American] technology," Wortzel stated.

The Pentagon confirmed, but would not comment on, the Chinese test, which comes as some in the U.S. worry about China's rapid military growth.

Dan Blumenthal, Director, Asian Studies at American Enterprise Institute, said it is not longer credible to talk about conventional military capabilities in the Asia Pacific without talking about the conventional nuclear mix.

"I think this is an area of deeply needed research, which is what exactly is China's nuclear policy today and given some of the things that are coming out, what kind of capability do they have and what kind of capability do we need to retain escalation control," said Blumenthal.

If perfected, hypersonic technology could allow countries to strike targets anywhere in the world within minutes, bypassing missile defense systems.

Experts said it is extremely difficult to master the technology needed to control the hypersonic vehicles, making it unclear how soon they will be ready for use.

Charles Vick, a senior technical analyst with GlobalSecurity.org, says hypersonic technology is still in the development stage, but could be ready in five to 10 years.

Vick told VOA it is difficult to track, detect and intercept a hypersonic vehicle, because it does not fly as high as ballistic missiles. "It is almost impossible to be shot down by existing anti-ballistic missile systems.  It is highly maneuverable and represents a real technological challenge to any anti-ballistic missile system in development or existence today."

The United States is also developing, and has tested, hypersonic vehicles.  One of the vehicles, the Falcon HTV-2 is made by Lockheed Martin, which said it can travel at a speed of Mach 20.  Russia is also developing the technology.

U.S. Pacific Command chief, Admiral Samuel Locklear, said Wednesday he is not particularly concerned about the Chinese test, but said it represents China's ability to develop new technologies.

China has steadily increased its military expenditures as its economy expanded in recent decades, though it remains far outpaced by the United States in defense spending.
 
VOA's Victor Beattie contributed to this report. This report was produced in collaboration with the VOA Mandarin service.

You May Like

Video China Investigates Powerful Former Security Chief

Analysts say move by President Xi is an effort to win more party support, take step toward economic reforms, removing those who would stand in way of change More

South Africa Land Reforms Still Contentious 20 Years Later

Activists argue that the pace of land reform is slow and biased; legal experts question how some proposed reforms would be implemented More

In Vietnam, Religious Freedoms Violated, UN Finds

Beliefs reportedly prompt heavy surveillance, intimidation and travel restrictions More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Information War Rages Alongside Real One in Ukrainei
X
Al Pessin
July 31, 2014 8:13 PM
The downing of the Malaysian airliner two weeks ago, and allegations that Russians are shelling Ukrainian troops across the border, have moved the information war swirling around the Ukrainian conflict to a new level. VOA's Al Pessin reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Information War Rages Alongside Real One in Ukraine

The downing of the Malaysian airliner two weeks ago, and allegations that Russians are shelling Ukrainian troops across the border, have moved the information war swirling around the Ukrainian conflict to a new level. VOA's Al Pessin reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video When Fighting Eases, Gazans Line Up at Bakeries

When there is a lull in the conflict in Gaza, residents who have been hunkered down in their apartments rush out to stock up on food and other necessities. Probably the most important destination is the local bakery. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Gaza City.
Video

Video US-Funded Program Offers Honduran Children Alternative to Illegal Immigration

President Obama and Central American leaders recently agreed to come up with a plan to address poverty and crime in the region that is fueling the surge of young migrants trying to illegally enter the United States. VOA’s Brian Padden looks at one such program in Honduras - funded in part by the United States - which gives street kids not only food and safety but a chance for a better life without, crossing the border.
Video

Video 'Fab Lab' Igniting Revolution in Kenya

The University of Nairobi’s Science and Technology Park is banking on 3-D prototyping to spark a manufacturing revolution in the country. Lenny Ruvaga has more for from Nairobi's so-called “FabLab” for VOA.
Video

Video Gazans in Shelled School Sought Shelter

Israel's air and ground assault against Hamas-led fighters in Gaza has forced many Palestinians to flee their homes, seeking safety. But safe places are hard to find, as VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jabaliya.
Video

Video Rapid Spread of Ebola in West Africa Prompts Global Alert

Across West Africa, health officials are struggling to keep up with what the World Health Organization describes as the worst ebola outbreak on record. The virus has killed hundreds of people this year. U.S. President Barack Obama and other world leaders are watching the developments closely as they weigh what actions, if any, are needed to help contain the disease.
Video

Video Michelle Obama: Young Africans Need to Embrace Women's Rights

U.S. first lady Michelle Obama urged some of Africa's best and brightest to advocate for women's rights in their home countries. As VOA's Pam Dockins explains, Obama spoke to some 500 participants of the Young African Leaders Initiative, a six-week U.S.-based training and development program.
Video

Video Immigrant Influx on Texas Border Heats Up Political Debate

Immigrants from Central America continue to cross the U.S.-Mexico border in south Texas, seeking asylum in the United States, as officials grapple with ways to deal with the problem and provide shelter for thousands of minors among the illegal border crossers. As VOA's Greg Flakus reports from Houston, the issue is complicated by internal U.S. politics and U.S. relations with the troubled nations that immigrants are fleeing.
Video

Video Study: Latino Students Most Segregated in California

Even though legal school segregation ended in the United States 60 years ago, one study finds segregation still occurs in the U.S. based on income and race. The University of California Los Angeles Civil Rights Project finds that students in California are more segregated by race than ever before, especially Latinos. Elizabeth Lee reports for VOA from Los Angeles.

AppleAndroid