China Aerospace Science and Industry Corporation (CASIC) has developed an “ultra-fast” missile interceptor system, capable of destroying projectiles traveling at speeds ten times faster than a bullet at altitudes of tens of kilometers.
The aerospace defense missile system is considered to be one of the cornerstones of China’s strategic military development as the system is so complex that only Russia and the US have been able to develop those till now. China Daily has not clearly specified the interceptor parameters, but the description reads “10 times faster than a bullet” and “tens of kilometers range.” All of this if taken literally could mean minimum speeds of 12,000 km/h, if the slowest of all bullets, the handgun is considered, with bullet speed of 1,200 km/h.
The CASIC’s Second Academy in Beijing is the country’s leading air defense systems developer, and the team behind the interceptor system has an average age of 32 years. The missile interceptor prototype exploded during a test flight, but the team was able to overcome the problems as the development went on.
Experts say that the advanced missile interceptor requires very sophisticated technologies, advanced manufacturing techniques, and best quality materials. The anti-missile system will be considered successful only after a good number of tests are completed.
China has conducted three successful land-based tests for mid-course missile interceptors in 2010, 2013, and 2014. It is not clear, however, if the new ultrafast missile interceptor system is of the same kind or not.
Taking the details given out by China Daily, the system has a minimum speed of 12,000 km/h, which is roughly ten times as much as the speed of sound. Russia is developing a hypersonic Zircon missile with maximum speeds between Mach 6 and Mach 8, which is of course less than China’s new system. The Boeing X-51 missile prototype under development reaches speeds of Mach 5 to Mach 6, but the NASA X-43 unmanned plane could manage top speeds of 11,850 km/h (Mach 9.6), setting a speed record. Considering the comparable technologies, the specifications revealed for the anti-missile system appear exaggerated but possible nonetheless.
The US recently tested its own missile interceptor system fired from Vanderberg Air Force Base in California, and the act was condemned by both China and Russia. Russian leader Vladimir Putin showed his concerns saying, “What is happening is a very serious and alarming process. In Alaska, and now in South Korea, elements of the anti-missile defense system are emerging. Should we just stand idly by and watch this? Of course not. We are thinking about how to respond to these challenges. This is a challenge for us.”
First the US missile system test, and now China’s, it is just inflaming the global tensions between all superpowers. Even though the tests are targeted at North Korea but essentially, it is just the part of a Global arms race led by the US, China, and Russia.