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China tests hypersonic aircraft that can carry nuclear warheads

Starry Sky-2 can travel at least five times the speed of sound.

world Updated: Aug 07, 2018 18:01 IST
Sutirtho Patranobis
Sutirtho Patranobis
Hindustan Times, Beijing
China,China military,China hypersonic aircraft
China has announced it has tested an aircraft that can travel five times the speed of sound and carry nuclear warheads..(AFP)

China said on Monday that it has tested a hypersonic aircraft that rides its own “shock waves”, can carry nuclear bombs and penetrate missile defence systems

The first test flight of Starry Sky-2--Xingkong-2 in Chinese--was carried out successfully at an undisclosed location in a remote part of northwest China, the China Academy of Aerospace Aerodynamics was quoted as saying by the state media.

The public announcement indicates that China has already achieved a degree of technological prowess with aircraft. Hypersonic vehicles move at least at five times the speed of sound.

The aircraft--also called the “waverider”--touched speeds of 7,344 km per hour, said Xinhua, the official news agency, in a report.

“A waverider is a hypersonic aircraft that has a wedge-shaped fuselage designed to improve its supersonic lift-to-drag ratio by using the shock waves generated by its own flight as a lifting force,” the report said.

“During the independent flight, the test craft maintained ultrafast speeds above Mach 5.5 for more than 400 seconds and reached 7,344 kmph,” it said.

The aircraft flew at an altitude of 30 km, carried out a number of manoeuvres and tested “a host of advanced technologies such as a domestically developed heat-balance thermal protection system”.

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, according to the statement.

“The current generation of anti-missile defense systems is mainly designed to intercept cruise and ballistic missiles, which are either slower or easier to predict, making them possible to intercept,” military expert Song Zhongping told the state-controlled Global Times.

“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,” Song said.

“The test showed that China is advancing shoulder to shoulder with the US and Russia,” Song said.

China said on Monday that it has tested a hypersonic aircraft that rides its own “shock waves”, can carry nuclear bombs and penetrate missile defence systems

The first test flight of Starry Sky-2--Xingkong-2 in Chinese--was carried out successfully at an undisclosed location in a remote part of northwest China, the China Academy of Aerospace Aerodynamics was quoted as saying by the state media.

The public announcement indicates that China has already achieved a degree of technological prowess with aircraft. Hypersonic vehicles move at least at five times the speed of sound.

The aircraft--also called the “waverider”--touched speeds of 7,344 km per hour, said Xinhua, the official news agency, in a report.

“A waverider is a hypersonic aircraft that has a wedge-shaped fuselage designed to improve its supersonic lift-to-drag ratio by using the shock waves generated by its own flight as a lifting force,” the report said.

“During the independent flight, the test craft maintained ultrafast speeds above Mach 5.5 for more than 400 seconds and reached 7,344 kmph,” it said.

The aircraft flew at an altitude of 30 km, carried out a number of manoeuvres and tested “a host of advanced technologies such as a domestically developed heat-balance thermal protection system”.

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, according to the statement.

“The current generation of anti-missile defense systems is mainly designed to intercept cruise and ballistic missiles, which are either slower or easier to predict, making them possible to intercept,” military expert Song Zhongping told the state-controlled Global Times.

“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,” Song said.

“The test showed that China is advancing shoulder to shoulder with the US and Russia,” Song said.

First Published: Aug 07, 2018 18:01 IST