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Wednesday, December 8, 2021

USA. Hypersonic Weapon Component Tests. Army: Three Successful Attempts

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The US Army conducted prototype testing of hypersonic weapons components on Wednesday, the Pentagon said. As added, three attempts were successful. A few days ago, the British Financial Times reported that in August China launched a hypersonic missile capable of carrying nuclear weapons.

Outside of the United States, China, Russia and at least five other countries are working on hypersonic technology. Hypersonic missiles, like traditional ballistic missiles that can carry nuclear weapons, can fly at more than five times the speed of sound. Ballistic missiles fly high into space, arc to reach their target, while a hypersonic missile follows a low trajectory in the atmosphere, potentially hitting the target faster. Importantly, the hypersonic missile is maneuverable (like a much slower, often subsonic cruise missile), which makes it difficult to track and counterattack.

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Countries like the United States have developed systems designed to defend against cruise and ballistic missiles, but the ability to track and shoot down hypersonic missiles is unknown. According to a recent report by the US Congressional Research Service (CRS), China has developed this offensive technology as key to defending against US advances in supersonic and other technologies.

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On Saturday, the British Financial Times, citing several independent sources, reported that Beijing fired a nuclear-capable missile in August that circled the Earth in low orbit before it collapsed without reaching its target. “We are closely monitoring the Chinese armaments program, and advanced military capabilities will only increase tensions in the region,” Pentagon chief Lloyd Austin later said.

The Pentagon said on Thursday that the US military conducted three prototype tests of hypersonic weapons components on Wednesday. As added, the attempts were successful.

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