China’s hypersonic weapon test in July also had with it a so far unknown advancement. Beijing fired a nuclear-capable hypersonic glide vehicle along with a separate missile, reported the Financial Times recently. The report also says that this ‘first of its kind’ test has perplexed US scientists. Many military experts consider the use of such a projectile as a countermeasure to fool missile defence systems and prevent them from shooting down the main hypersonic weapon.
In addition to this revelation, the Financial Times also published China having conducted two and not one hypersonic missile tests. The first took place on July 27 and was reported widely by the media. However, one more hypersonic missile test took place on August 13, which went largely unreported.
These revelations have brought out the real threat that the Chinese hypersonic weapons pose before the United States, particularly and to the world in general.
Why such an unknown advancement by China?
Test of such a device comes as, last year, the US Navy had successfully intercepted a mock intercontinental ballistic missile. Subsequently, China appears to be mulling strikes against its adversaries from outer space orbit along with the use of some sort of decoy. Both the techniques are aimed at dodging the US missile defence systems further.
US Space Force stunned!
This development by China has reportedly left the US Space Force stunned. Termed as the biggest geostrategic crisis the United States faces in generations, several top US military officials are concerned with the slow pace at which the US government is pursuing this matter. Moreover, Gen. David Thompson, Vice Chief of US Space Operations, has on record admitted, “We’re not as advanced as the Chinese or the Russians in terms of hypersonic programs”.
The US Department of Defense has appointed three private contractors, Northrop Grumman, Lockheed Martin and Raytheon, to research and develop missile defence systems capable of defending against hypersonic attacks. They will work separately to build a hypersonic missile interceptor guided by a constellation of satellites and sensors.
Chinese President Jinping has agreed with US President Biden to plan arms control, a step contrary to what the Chinese are doing. To understand the so-called genuineness behind Jinping’s promise to Biden, one need not be a geopolitical expert.
These circumstances recall the necessity of former US President Donald Trump’s demand for making China a party to the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty, a nuclear weapons and missile control treaty that is dead today.