DIA chief scientist Paul Freisthler told a House Armed Services subcommittee that China has been working on building an intercontinental ballistic missile tipped with a hypersonic glide warhead since 2014. By 2021, Chinese development had advanced enough that this missile could circumnavigate the globe. (Related: China increases military budget to $224 BILLION in preparation for invasion of Taiwan.)
Freisthler noted that Chinese missile technology may have even advanced beyond the capabilities of Russia.
"While both China and Russia have conducted numerous successful tests of hypersonic weapons and have likely fielded operational systems, China is leading Russia in both supporting infrastructure and number of systems," he said. He added that China has "dramatically advanced its development of conventional and nuclear-armed hypersonic missile technologies and capabilities through intense, focused investment, development, testing and deployments."
American officials have expressed their concern with the Chinese use of hypersonic missiles, noting that they could be used to attack American warplanes and other assets at bases in Japan and Guam.
They warned that these weapons may even be able to penetrate the decks of one of America's 11 multibillion-dollar aircraft carriers, which could instantly cripple American aviation operations in the Pacific. Such a vulnerability, if not immediately countered, could make America's carrier fleet immediately outdated.
According to Freisthler, the China Academy of Aerospace Aerodynamics, a research and manufacturing organization dedicated to the development of rockets, missiles and drones, already has at least three hypersonic wind tunnels capable of operating speeds of Mach 8, 10 and 12.
The communist nation's most successful hypersonic missiles are the DF-17 and DF-41. The DF-17 is a medium-range ballistic missile with a range of up to 2,500 kilometers (1,553 miles) and can be fired from a mobile transport-erector launcher. The DF-41 is an intercontinental ballistic missile that can carry up to 10 independently targetable nuclear warheads and an operational range of over 14,000 kilometers (8,699 miles), making it capable of striking any location on the planet.
Both the DF-17 and DF-41 can be launched from hypersonic glide vehicles, which can maneuver the attached missiles with a degree of unpredictability that makes them near impossible to counter.
Russia, Freisthler said, currently has three hypersonic missile systems, including one sea-launched missile capable of traveling at Mach 8. Several of these missiles have been used against Ukrainian military targets since the beginning of Russia's special military operation last year.
One of these hypersonic missiles, the Kinzhal, was already used to strike military targets in Ukraine. The Kinzhal has a range of about 2,000 kilometers (1,243 miles) and can fly at speeds of up to Mach 10.
While untested, Russia also has the Avangard hypersonic glide vehicle, which it claims can carry missiles for over 6,000 kilometers (3,728 miles) at speeds of up to Mach 20. Russia is also developing the ship-launched Zircon hypersonic missile, which has a range of 1,000 kilometers (621 miles) and a top speed of Mach 8.
The United States has yet to declare an operational hypersonic missile of similar technological capability to the Chinese and Russian ones. The Air Force, Navy and Army are reportedly developing separate systems.
All of the Chinese and Russian missile systems can be equipped with nuclear warheads. In contrast to these systems, American defense officials have noted that the U.S. has no intention to equip any of its hypersonic weapons and vehicles with nuclear warheads.
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Watch this clip from GNews featuring Miles Guo discussing how the CCP is providing large quantities of high tech, long-range missiles to their allies.