China fires hypersonic missile that circled the Earth at low orbit

Nothing to worry about

10/17/2021 7:30:00 PM

Nothing to worry about

The incident is said to have taken American intelligence officials by surprise.

SharesThe launch emerged after the North Korean Government also claimed to have a launched a hypersonic missile (Picture: AP)The USA was shocked by the capability of a hypersonic missile tested by China earlier this year, after it circled the globe and then cruised towards its target.

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The nuclear-capable rocket was fired by the the Chinese military in August and flew through low-orbit space, according to theFinancial Times.It ended up missing its target by around 25 miles but the development of the technology surprised American intelligence.

People briefed on the incident told the FT: ‘The test showed that China had made astounding progress on hypersonic weapons and was far more advanced than US officials realised.’Sources said the hypersonic glide vehicle was carried by a Long March rocket, launches of which China usually announces – but this test was kept under wraps.

Ballistic missiles fly into outer space before returning on steep trajectories at higher speeds.Hypersonic weapons, meanwhile, can reach targets more quickly and are manoeuvrable.They are particularly difficult to defend against because they fly towards targets at lower altitudes and can still achieve more than five times the speed of sound – roughly around 3,850 mph.

The United States and Russia and at least five other nations are also developing hypersonic missiles, whileNorth Korea said last month that it had test-fired a newly-developed hypersonic missile.Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said he would not comment on the specifics of the report but added: ‘We have made clear our concerns about the military capabilities China continues to pursue, capabilities that only increase tensions in the region and beyond.

Read more: Metro »

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