China Is Expanding Its Effort to Launch Weapons from Hypersonic Missiles
By Alastair Gale
22 November 2021
U.S. military officials concede that America’s hypersonic weapons-development program trails China’s. During the past five years, the U.S. has conducted nine hypersonic tests, while China has launched hundreds, according to Air Force Gen. John Hyten, who was until recently vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
China already has hundreds of nuclear-capable ballistic missiles that travel high into space and back down faster than hypersonic glide vehicles. They include missiles that can launch up to a dozen warheads at different targets, likely overwhelming U.S. defenses. Military analysts say Beijing’s goal appears to be developing new weapons and delivery methods to ensure it retains an advantage.
“I think China is concerned about the future of U.S. missile defense,” including possible space-based interceptors, said Zhao Tong, a Beijing-based nuclear-arms expert at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.