As per the U.S. intelligence agency, China may have already deployed a weapon that can reach American Pacific bases, and is developing hypersonic weapons faster than Russia. On Friday, Paul Freisthler, the chief scientist for Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) analysis division, revealed that China has been testing an intercontinental ballistic missile with a hypersonic glide warhead since 2014.
“While both China and Russia have conducted numerous successful tests of hypersonic weapons and have likely fielded operational systems,” Freisthler told a House Armed Services subcommittee.
“China is leading Russia in both supporting infrastructure and numbers of systems,” Freisthler said of the weapons.”
According to Paul Freisthler, with focused investment, development, testing, and deployments, China has made significant progress in the development of conventional and nuclear-armed hypersonic missile technologies and capabilities. China’s Academy of Aerodynamics reportedly runs three hypersonic wind tunnels that can achieve accelerations of Mach 8, 10, and 12, as per Freisthler.
Comparatively, Russia has three operational systems, including a Mach 8 sea-launched weapon. However, since the invasion, Russia has fired multiple missiles at Ukrainian locations, including this week.
In February, Chinese military researchers reportedly made notable advancements in improving the efficiency of air-breathing engines that use solid-state fuel for hypersonic flight.
According to Ma Likun, the team leader of a study conducted at the National University of Defence Technology in Changsha, Hunan province, China’s latest advancements in hypersonic engine efficiency could potentially double the operating range and fighting power of their hypersonic missiles. He described the efficiency achieved as “remarkable,” nearly twice that of a conventional scramjet engine operating under the same conditions.
In a ground simulation of a flight at a height of 25 kilometers (15.5 miles) and a speed of Mach 6, the prototype engine achieved a fuel efficiency of 79 percent, nearly double that of a conventional scramjet engine under the same conditions.
Meanwhile, as per a Bloomberg report, the Air Force, Navy, and Army are each developing distinct hypersonic systems, but the U.S. has yet to declare any of them operational.