China successfully tests first hypersonic aircraft
China on Monday announced that it has successfully tested its first cutting-edge hypersonic aircraft which could carry nuclear warheads and penetrate any current generation anti-missile defence systems. The Xingkong-2 or Starry Sky-2, was launched in a target range located in Northwest China on Friday last, the state-run China Academy of Aerospace Aerodynamics (CAAA) said in a statement.
The flight vehicle reached 30 kms in altitude at Mach 5.5-6, the statement quoted by the official media today said.
The hypersonic aircraft was designed by the CAAA in collaboration with the China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation.
Various parameters were proved and the flight vehicle was fully recovered, which marks the successful launch of Xingkong-2 and the first flight of a Chinese waverider, the statement said.
“Announcing the successful test to the public indicates that China must have already made a technological breakthrough with the weapon,” Mr. Song said.
The waverider is expected to be tested more frequently in future before being handed over for deployment to the People’s Liberation Army, he said.
The current generation of anti-missile defence systems is mainly designed to intercept cruise and ballistic missiles, which are either slower or easier to predict, making them possible to intercept, he said.
But the trajectory of a waverider is relatively unpredictable in the glide and it flies so fast that it poses an extreme challenge to current anti-missile defense systems, Mr. Song said.
Any rocket has the potential of launching a waverider, and the waverider can carry both conventional and nuclear warheads, Mr. Song said.
“The test showed that China is advancing shoulder-to-shoulder with the U.S. and Russia,” Mr. Song said.