September 2015 – DEFENSE – China this week carried out another test of a new high-tech hypersonic glide vehicle, an ultra high-speed missile designed to deliver nuclear weapons and avoid defenses. The latest test of what the Pentagon calls the Wu-14 hypersonic glide vehicle was carried out from the Wuzhai missile test range in central China. The test was judged successful, according to defense officials familiar with details of the event. Additionally, officials said the glide vehicle, which travels along the edge of the earth’s atmosphere, demonstrated a new capability: evasive actions. U.S. intelligence agencies have been tracking the Wu-14 since for over a year and have gained valuable insights into the weapon, the officials said. No additional details were provided on the maneuvering activities of the Wu-14. However, the evasive actions bolstered suspicions that China is building the missile with capabilities designed to defeat U.S. defenses.
Current U.S. defenses are designed to track missiles that travel in predictable flight paths and are unable to counter maneuvering warheads and glide vehicles. The latest Wu-14 test took place Wednesday. It was the fifth test of the glide vehicle and the second since June. The weapon is launched as the last stage of a missile that reaches speeds of around Mach 10, or 10 times the speed of sound—around 7,680 miles per hour. Military analysts said the Chinese test schedule indicates that China may be close to deploying the high priority weapon. Earlier flight tests took place this year on June 7 and last year on Jan. 9, Aug. 7 and Dec. 2. The weapon system and tests were first reported by the Free Beacon. Asked about the test, Pentagon spokesman Cmdr. Bill Urban said: “We do not comment on PRC weapons tests but we do monitor Chinese military modernization carefully.”
A defense official, however, said the Wu-14 is viewed as a serious emerging strategic threat that could complicate U.S. nuclear deterrent efforts. “At a minimum this latest test indicates China is likely succeeding in achieving a key design objective: building a warhead capable of withstanding the very high stress of hypersonic maneuvering,” said Rick Fisher, a China military expert. “It is likely that the test vehicle will form the basis for a missile launched weapon.” “The advent of a Chinese hypersonic weapon may pose the greatest early threat to large U.S. Navy ships,” said Fisher, a senior fellow with the International Assessment and Strategy Center. “The best prospect for a defensive response would be to greatly accelerate railgun development.”
Outgoing Strategic Command Deputy Commander Air Force Lt. Gen. James Kowalski, said hypersonic weapon technology “certainly offers a number of advantages to a state,” “It offers a number of different ways to overcome defenses, whether those are conventional, or if someone would decide to use a nuclear warhead, I think gives it an even more complicated dimension,” Kowalski said during the same conference in Omaha. Kowalski said so far no hypersonic weapons have been fielded by the Chinese or Russians but “it remains something that concerns us and may be an area of discussion in the future.” A congressional Chinese commission stated in its annual report last year that China’s hypersonic missile “could render existing U.S. missile defense systems less effective and potentially obsolete.”
China, Russia, and the United States appear engaged in a quiet hypersonic arms race. Russia tested a hypersonic missile in February. The Pentagon also is conducting research and development on hypersonic arms, including an Army missile and a glide vehicle and a scramjet-powered hypersonic weapon. The current version of the House defense authorization bill contains funding and language aimed at pressing the Pentagon to counter hypersonic threats. One provision calls for adding $291 million for development of a long-range variant of the Army Terminal High Altitude Area Defense, or THAAD. Bryan Clark and Mark Gunzinger of the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments estimate that the United States and Russia are “very close” to having hypersonic arms. China’s glide vehicle appears to be part of anti-access, area denial strategies. –Free Beacon
New hypersonic anti-ship missile: China’s military just revealed a never-before-seen hypersonic missile informally known as the assassin’s mace, which reportedly can travel up to 10 times the speed of sound. Without an adequate counter, the highly anticipated Dongfeng 21D missile may sink the U.S. Navy’s heavy reliance on aircraft carriers by making them as obsolete as battleships, which fell out of favor after Japan’s surprise attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941.
The Dongfeng 21D missile made an appearance at the military parade in Beijing Thursday to commemorate the 70th anniversary of World War II, The Fiscal Times reports. China brought 12,000 troops and an assortment of aircraft, missiles and tanks to bear for the demonstration. A total of 84 percent of weaponry was totally new. Aside from stating that the weapon existed and was under development, China’s Minister of Defense didn’t utter a word about the DF-21D “carrier-killer” missile until the parade. –Daily Caller