China Tests Wide-Speed-Range Hypersonic Space Plane, Nuclear Missile


Researchers tested three different design shapes and monitored the performance of each, CCTV reported. Photo: Sina.com.cn

SCMP says in its report “China takes step towards precision warheads for unstoppable nuclear weapon, state media says” yesterday that according to China’s state TV media CCTV on September 21 China tested three scalled-down models of “wide-speed-range vehicles that can fly from hypersonic to lower than sound velocity.

The three models are China’s differently shaped designs that China tests for its hypersonic plane and unstoppable nuclear-capable precision weapons.

Hypersonic speed ensures that the hypersonic missile is unstoppable but such high speed allows affects the precision in hitting the target. The variable range of speed enable the missile to reduce its speed for adjusting its trajectory and position to ensure precision hit.

Two of the three models are shaped similar to the waverider Starry Sky 2 China tested last month but the third one is different in shape.

The third one’s shape is called “I” shape, which the Institute of Mechanics of Chinese Academy of Sciences claimed in a paper published in February could produce 60 per cent higher lift coefficient than the waverider.

Comment by Chan Kai Yee on SCMP’s report, full text of which can be viewed at https://www.scmp.com/news/china/military/article/2166298/china-takes-step-towards-precision-warheads-unstoppable-nuclear.

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Lockheed nabs another big hypersonic weapons contract


By: Valerie Insinna   August 15

WASHINGTON — Lockheed Martin will design a second hypersonic weapon prototype for the U.S. Air Force, the service announced Monday.

Although final terms have not been established, the contract could be worth up to $480 million for the critical design review, testing and production readiness support of the Air-Launched Rapid Response Weapon, or ARRW.

Lockheed is already working on a separate hypersonic weapon for the Air Force under the Hypersonic Conventional Strike Weapon program, or HCSW, and this newest award sets it up to become a hypersonics-manufacturing powerhouse at a time when the Defense Department is deeply interested in the technology — and is investing funds to match that interest.

“We are going to go fast and leverage the best technology available to get hypersonic capability to the warfighter as soon as possible,” Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson said in a statement announcing the contract.

The Air Force wants to move both ARRW and the HCSW to a flying prototype as soon as possible, with 2021 cited as the goal date. By signing off on an undefinitized contract action, Lockheed and the Air Force Life Cycle Management Center will be able to begin working on the program as the parties settle the final terms and price of the contract.

The service awarded Lockheed the HCSW contract in April. That program could be worth $928 million over its life cycle.

Whereas ARRW will be “pushing the art-of-the-possible” using technologies developed by the Air Force and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, the HCSW will comprise mature technologies that are integrated for the first time in an air-launched delivery system, the service said in a statement.

Russia and China are making their own investments in hypersonic technologies. Last week, China claimed that it had tested a hypersonic aircraft called Starry Sky-2 for the first time ever. Russia has also been public about its interest in hypersonics, and in May flew MiG-31s equipped with new hypersonic missiles at Russia’s annual Victory Day parade.

Michael Griffin, the Pentagon’s undersecretary of defense for research and engineering, said in July that the United States cannot afford to concede the area of hypersonics to its potential adversaries.

“How close they are to operational, I just don’t know. But I’m worried about our end of things,” he said.

The other military branches are pursuing parallel hypersonics development programs, and leaders from the Defense Department, Missile Defense Agency, Air Force, Navy and Army signed a memorandum of agreement on June 28 to collaborate on hypersonic boost glide technologies, the statement said.

“The Joint Team requires the right mix of agile capabilities to compete, deter and win across the spectrum of competition and conflict,” Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Dave Goldfein said. “We must push the boundaries of technology and own the high ground in this era of great power competition and beyond.”

Source: Defense News “Lockheed nabs another big hypersonic weapons contract”

Note: This is Defense News’ report I post here for readers’ information. It does not mean that I agree or disagree with the report’ views.


China Successfully Test Hypersonic Waverider Aircraft.


SCMP says in its report “China’s hypersonic aircraft, Starry Sky-2, could be used to carry nuclear missiles at six times the speed of sound”, “First test flight of experimental design, which rides its own shock waves, deemed a ‘huge success’

The device is called waverider by Chinese scientists who have developed it. That is not China’s first hypersonic flying vehicle. China has been testing hypersonic glide vehicles since 2014.

However, this was the first test of waverider, a hypersonic aircraft that takes off from a rocket but lands on its own. It flew at the maximum speed of Mach 6. It will be an aircraft able to carry and fire hypersonic missiles unstoppable by any existing missile defense systems.

The report quotes Beijing-based military analyst Zhou Chenming as saying “I think there are still three to five years before this technology can be weaponised” .

Both the US and Russia are making great efforts to develop hypersonic weapons.

Russia has developed Kinzhal hypersonic missile system that had reached speeds of Mach 20 and will come into operation in 2019

SCMP says, “The US is working on several designs, including the Hypersonic Technology Vehicle 2 and Advanced Hypersonic Weapon. Earlier this year, the US Air Force allocated US$1 billion for the design and development of a hypersonic missile that could be launched from a warplane.”

Both Russia and the US are developing hypersonic missiles while neither of them is developing hypersonic aircraft like what China has been doing.

Comment by Chan Kai Yee on SCMP’s report, full text of which can be viewed at https://www.scmp.com/news/china/diplomacy-defence/article/2158524/chinas-hypersonic-aircraft-starry-sky-2-could-be-used.


China Reportedly Tests New DF-17 Hypersonic Weapon


China’s DF-21D missile. Image: GETTYGREG BAKER

Beijing’s new mach-buster could be the first modern operational hypersonic weapon system.

By Kyle Mizokami Dec 29, 2017

China tested a new missile that incorporates a hypersonic weapon system, an unnamed U.S. intelligence source told The Diplomat this week. The weapon, known as the Dong Feng (“East Wind”) -17, or DF-17 for short, is designed to confound existing air defenses. Intended to become an operational weapons system, the DF-17 is likely the first in a new generation of hypersonic weapons under development by the major military powers.

The People’s Liberation Army Navy Rocket Force, the arm of the Chinese military that controls Beijing’s nuclear and conventionally armed ballistic missiles, tested the DF-17 in November after more than a half dozen development tests between 2014 to 2016. (The image above is a DF-21D, which is similar to the DF-17.) The missile was launched from the Jiuquan Space Launcher Center in Inner Mongolia, the site of previous Chinese anti-satellite missile tests. The missile is expected to enter service in 2020 and has an estimated range of 1,100 to 1,500 miles.

Hypersonic glide vehicles (HGVs) differ from conventional ballistic missile warheads in several key ways. Traditional ballistic missile warheads are placed on top of a ballistic missile and are boosted into space, reentering earth’s atmosphere thousands of miles away at extremely high speed. Hypersonic glide vehicles also ride a ballistic missile (or are launched from an aircraft at very high altitudes) and stop short of entering space, gliding back down to Earth at hypersonic (Mach 5+) speeds.

HGVs travel under the gaze of traditional ballistic missile radars, flying lower than existing ballistic missile defense radars typically scan. This makes them difficult to defend against—at least for now. The tradeoff is that once HGVs begin their descent against their targets they fly slower than ballistic missile warheads and are easily visible.

The DF-17 doesn’t exactly revolutionize missile warfare. Against well-armed opponents such as the United States it provides only a temporary solution until existing missile defense systems (such as THAAD) are upgraded to deal with the threat. Against a less technologically advanced opponent, such as India, they would be more useful.

In the event of a major war with the United States, China would likely launch both HGV and ballistic missiles against U.S. to give defenders two types of missiles to defend against. It would complicate, but not render useless, existing defenses. Lockheed Martin is pushing an extended range version of its THAAD missile system to counter hypersonic weapons.

In addition to China, the United States and Russia are working on hypersonic weapons. A recent report by the Rand Corporation warned that hypersonic weapons, with their blistering fast speeds, could make war more likely as they force rival powers to adopt a “launch on warning” defense posture. This in turn could make human or technical errors more likely to accidentally start wars.

Source: Popular Mechanics “China Reportedly Tests New DF-17 Hypersonic Weapon”

Note: This is Popular Mechanics’ article I post here for readers’ information. It does not mean that I agree or disagree with the article’s views.


China Reveals Images of New Hypersonic Strike Aircraft


Chinese model of hypersonic aircraft
Washington Free Beacon photo

Model of China’s hypersonic warhead. Washingdon Free Becon photo

This may be China’s hypersonic aircraft. Photo from CCTV footage.

Ultra high-speed vehicles shown for first time on state-run television

BY: Bill Gertz

November 8, 2017 2:10 pm

China has disclosed the first images of secret hypersonic strike aircraft that are being developed to deliver nuclear warheads through U.S. missile defenses. State-run CCTV on Oct. 8 broadcast images of four different vehicles or missiles that U.S. intelligence agencies believe are mockups of hypersonic strike vehicles, including one known as DF-ZF.

It is the first time images of the hypersonic aircraft were made public.

The Free Beacon first reported China’s initial flight test of the hypersonic glider in January 2014. Since then, six other flight tests have been carried out in what U.S. intelligence officials believe is a high-priority weapons program for the Chinese.

China’s Defense Ministry confirmed the first flight test nearly four years ago but sought to play down the arms development.

“Our planned scientific research tests conducted in our territory are normal,” the ministry said in the statement. “These tests are not targeted at any country and at any specific goals.”

U.S. officials have told Congress the initial use of the new hypersonic glider will be for delivering nuclear warheads through what China believes will be a future global U.S. missile defense shield directed against its missiles.

The most advanced hypersonic missile is the DF-ZF glider that is launched atop a ballistic missile and then glides to its target in near space. The glider is capable of maneuvering at speeds of between Mach 5 and Mach 10—3,836 miles per hour and 7,672 miles per hour, respectively.

Such high speeds require special materials and electronics capable of withstanding the high temperatures and pressures created by those velocities.

The Oct. 8 broadcast reported on China’s development of a hypersonic wind tunnel that is used for testing the high-speed strike vehicles. The test system is located in Beijing and is known as the JF12 shock wave wind tunnel. A technician from the Chinese Academy of Sciences, Jiang Zonglin, told CCTV the tunnel is comparable to an unspecified “renowned” U.S. wind tunnel.

Jiang said the JF12 “has reached the world’s advanced level” and is capable of revealing many issues U.S. researchers have yet to discover about hypersonic flight.

According to Jiang, tests at the JF12 are conducted every two days and the facility will be operating at full capacity through the end of the year.

China expects to increase the speed of next generation hypersonic vehicles past the current Mach 5 limit, the report said.

The broadcast showed three hypersonic vehicles over various shapes, including a triangular-shaped glider, and one weapon that appeared similar in shape to the last stage of a ballistic missile.

The report also included images of the JF12 that stated the tunnel creates wind speeds of between Mach 5 and Mach 10 and uses a nozzle diameter of 8.2 feet. The test duration is 100 milliseconds.

The Pentagon’s 2013 annual report on the Chinese military mentioned the JF12 wind tunnel as a development of the China Academy of Sciences’ Institute of Mechanics.

The Institute announced in May 2012 that it began hypersonic testing of the super-large wind tunnel that China claimed is the largest in the world.

Air Force Gen. John Hyten, commander of the Strategic Command, said in July he is worried about the development of hypersonic missiles by China and Russia. The United States is also pursuing the weaponry, he said.

“Hypersonic technology is concerning to me, but it’s really no more concerning to me than any cruise missile technology, any ballistic missile technology,” Hyten said. “We have to be prepared to defend ourselves against all those threats. And we have to have a deterrent that is ready to respond in case any of those break out.”

The National Air and Space Intelligence Center stated in a report made public last summer that hypersonic glide vehicles are a new class of weapons and an emerging threat. Hypersonic missiles “are maneuverable vehicles that travel at hypersonic (greater than Mach 5) speed and spend most of their flight at much lower altitudes than a typical ballistic missile,” the report said. “The combination of high speed, maneuverability, and relatively low altitude makes them challenging targets for missile defense systems,” the report added, noting they are currently being developed by Russia and China.

Congress last year passed legislation requiring the Pentagon’s Missile Defense Agency to create a dedicated program aimed at countering hypersonic missile threats.

An Air Force-sponsored study warned last year that the United States is falling behind in the emerging hypersonic arms race.

“The People’s Republic of China and the Russian Federation are already flight-testing high-speed maneuvering weapons that may endanger both forward-deployed U.S. forces and even the continental United States,” the study said. “These weapons appear to operate in regimes of speed and altitude, with maneuverability that could frustrate existing missile defense constructs and weapon capabilities.”

The growing threat of hypersonic arms is said by U.S. officials to be part of two major Pentagon studies that are nearing completion. One is the nuclear posture review that will include an examination of strategic threats to the United States posed by hypersonic nuclear delivery vehicles. A second is a review of strategic missile defenses that are being challenged by new hypersonic and other maneuvering missiles.

Rick Fisher, a China weapons expert with the International Assessment and Strategy Center, said the Chinese television broadcast confirms reports about the new high-technology weapons development.

“This CCTV show provides additional validation that China is developing hypersonic maneuverable reentry vehicles (MaRVs) that some PLA experts suggest in the future may also be launched from PLA navy ships to attack U.S. Navy ships.”

“The delta shape may be a generic test model or it could indicate the shape of an early PLA MaRV warhead.”

China’s development of high-speed maneuvering warheads is a high threat because “this type of warhead is much more difficult to intercept with current U.S. missile defenses,” Fisher said.

Three years ago, Lee Fuell, an intelligence analyst with the National Air and Space Intelligence Center, told Congress China’s hypersonic glider appears designed for nuclear weapons.

“At this point, we think that’s associated with their nuclear deterrent forces,” Fuell said. “Of great concern would be if they were to apply the same technology and capability with a conventional warhead or even just without a warhead because of the kinetic energy that it has.”

In addition to an unpowered glider, China also is developing a scramjet-powered hypersonic missile. A Chinese technical publication reported in May that a breakthrough was made in development of a ramjet engine for hypersonic missiles.

The CCTV broadcast on the hypersonic missiles was first reported by the online newsletter “The War Zone” on Tuesday.

Source: Washington Free Beacon “China Reveals Images of New Hypersonic Strike Aircraft”

Note: This is Washington Free Beacon’s report I post here for readers’ information. It does not mean that I agree or disagree with the report’ views.


China’s World Leading Technology to Finish US Missile Defense


Mil.huanqiu.com says in its report on October 19, 2017 that CCTV revealed for the first time on October 8 China’s JF12 hypersonic shock wave wind tunnel of Mach 5-10 faster than the Mach 4-7 of US best similar wind tunnel. The tunnel has caused concerns in US Department of Defense for 4 years as the hypersonic weapons developed through the wind tunnel will make worthless the missile defense system that the US has spent hundreds of billions of US dollars to develop.

Jiang Zonglin, research fellow of Chinese Academy of Sciences, says in front of China’s world best wind tunnel, “Ours can be regarded as a kind of cradle of advanced flying vehicles”. Photo from CCTV footage

JF12 wind tunnel. Photo from CCTV footage

Model of a hypersonic flying vehicle China is developing. Photo from CCTV footage

Model of a hypersonic flying vehicle China is developing. Photo from CCTV footage

Beijing to New York but a 2-hour flight of China’s hypersonic plane. Photo from CCTV footage

Source: mil.huanqiu.com “First official disclosure of China’s world best technology that will finish US missile defense” (summary by Chan Kai Yee based on the report in Chinese)


US to Find Solutions to Deal with China’s Long-range Fast Missiles


A notional concept grapic of China’s WU-14 hypersonic glide vehicle. Credit: Wikipedia

Business Insider’s article “The US Navy has a severe ‘missile gap’ with China and Russia — here’s how it can beat them anyway” says, “The US wields the world’s biggest, most powerful Navy, but recent developments in China and Russia’s missile inventory severely threaten the surface fleet with superior range and often velocity.”

As a result, “US Navy and Lockheed Martin have a variety of solutions in the works to tip the scales in the US’s favor by going hard on offense.”

Now, it is China who takes the initiative to make the US busy to find ways to deal with China’s new weapons. Certainly, the US will find some solutions, but when the US has found such solutions, China will have developed newer weapons to force the US to make further researches.

That is the beginning of the era of the US lagging behind China in weapon development.

Comment by Chan Kai Yee on Business Insider’s article full text of which can be found at http://www.businessinsider.com/missile-gap-us-navy-russia-china-lrasm-2017-3.