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Friday, December 3, 2021

USA. Gen. Milley on the Chinese Hypersonic Missile Test

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America’s highest-ranking military general, Mark Milley, said the recent Chinese hypersonic missile test was “very worrying.” He compared it to the launch by the USSR of the first satellite, Sputnik 1. According to the general, the trial of the newest weapon is only one sign of Beijing’s great progress in strengthening its armed forces.

– What we saw was a very significant event, a test of the hypersonic weapons system. And it is very disturbing. I’ve seen commentators compare this to the “Sputnik moment”. I don’t know if this is exactly the “Sputnik moment”, but I think it is very close, said US military general Mark Milley in an interview on Wednesday on Bloomberg. “This is a very significant technological event and has our full attention,” he added.


The hypersonic missile was to be carried by the Long March rocket. Illustrative photoPAPNewscom

The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) referred to the launch in 1957 by the USSR of the first ever artificial satellite, which gave an unexpected lead in the space race and shocked the US.

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Milley referred to the recent reports of the British Financial Times about the attempts a new type of hypersonic weapon moving in orbit to bypass missile defense systems. Hypersonic weapons, i.e. weapons moving at more than five times the speed of sound, are one of the main fields in the technological race between Russia, China and the United States. Russia already presented its Vanguard missile in 2018, and according to US experts – despite the fact that it has been conducting intensive research in this field for almost two decades – it is several years behind China.

General Milley: China is expanding rapidly

The main advantage of hypersonic weapons is the low flight altitude and maneuverability, making it easier to bypass anti-missile defense systems, although existing systems are not able to effectively contain “traditional” ICBMs.

According to the general, the trial of the newest weapons is only one of the signals that Beijing is making good progress in strengthening its armed forces. – China is expanding rapidly – in space, cyberspace and in traditional domains: land, sea and air. It went from a peasant infantry army that was very, very large in 1979 to a very capable army in all domains with global ambitions, Milley said.

He added that official statistics on the PRC’s defense budget – the US budget is several times higher – do not reflect the true scale of Beijing’s armaments, because China pays much less than the US to maintain its soldiers. – If we take this into account, we will get budgets that are very similar to each other – he assessed.

Main photo source: PAPNewscom

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