China surprises U.S. with nuclear-capable hypersonic missile test, FT reports

The Financial Times, citing five unnamed sources, reported that China tested a nuclear-capable hypersonic missile in August, showing a capability that surprised US intelligence.

The report said late on Saturday that the Chinese military launched a missile carrying a hypersonic glide vehicle that flew into low orbit around the world before sailing toward its target, which it missed by about twenty miles.

The report, citing people familiar with the intelligence, said: “The test showed that China had made astonishing progress in hypersonic weapons that were far more advanced than US officials realized.”
China’s Defense Ministry did not immediately respond to a faxed request for comment from Reuters on Sunday.

The United States and Russia are also developing hypersonic missiles, and North Korea said last month that it had test-fired a newly developed hypersonic missile.

At the 2019 parade, China showcased advanced weapons including its supersonic missile known as the DF-17.

Ballistic missiles fly into outer space before returning on steep paths at higher speeds. Hypersonic weapons are difficult to defend because they fly toward targets at low altitudes but can achieve speeds over five times the speed of sound – or about 6,200 km per hour (3,850 mph).

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