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World’s first missile that can hit target in seconds tested

China successfully tested its new DF-17 hypersonic missile

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BEIJING, China - China is said to have successfully tested its new DF-17 hypersonic missile that can reportedly reshape the nuclear weapons technology.

U.S. officials confirmed that China had tested the world’s first ballistic missile that can come “within metres” of its target.

Reports revealed that in the month of November, China’s People’s Liberation Army Rocket Force conducted two flight tests of a new ballistic missile that was attached to a hypersonic glide vehicle (HGV).

A HGV is an aircraft that is capable of reaching speeds five times faster than the speed of sound.

This allows it to deliver nuclear weapons to their target in a matter of seconds.

U.S. officials said that the test was “the first HGV test in the world using a system intended to be fielded operationally.”

Reports on the test come even as both the U.S. and Russia continue to work on their own tests of HGVs.

However, neither of the countries are believed to have conducted tests for a system that could be operational.

In June, James Syring, Director of the U.S. Missile Defence Agency, said that attempts to harness HGVs span back over 70 years but are only now being tested with the intention of being used.

He added, “Although hypersonic glide vehicles and missiles flying non-ballistic trajectories were first proposed as far back as World War Two, technological advances are only now making these systems practicable.”

This is the first such missile test conducted by China since the ruling Communist Party’s annual Congress in October.

On November 1, officials said that the HGV tested is said to have been specifically designed for a medium-range ballistic missile called DF-17 and landed “within metres” of its intended target.

They added that a second test of the missile took place on November 15.

Meanwhile, U.S. officials have said that the missile is expected to become fully operational by 2020.

In June, a National Air and Space Intelligence Centre report warned that HGVs could be more dangerous as they were harder to defend against due to the speed the missile travels at.

The report warned, “The combination of high speed, manoeuvrability, and relatively low altitudes makes HGVs challenging targets for missile defence systems.”

Experts have said that the planned introduction of the HGV into China’s nuclear arsenal comes after the country’s President Xi Jinping used the Communist Party’s 19th conference to unveil his plans to make a “world-class military.”

The Chinese military is centred around a new, condensed structure of 84 military units and the recent reshuffle builds on Xi Jinping’s years-long efforts to modernize the PLA with greater emphasis on new capabilities including cyberspace, electronic and information warfare.

At the time of the test, Jinping, who is chair of the Central Military Commission and the commander-in-chief of China's armed forces told commanders of the new units at the PLA headquarters in Beijing that the test “has profound and significant meaning in building a world-class military.”

 

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