China's new hypersonic missile is a new threat. As reported by the South China Morning Post, these ballistic missiles will not only challenge the US defenses but will also accurately hit military targets of Japan and India.
Also known as the DF-17, the new "hypersonic glide vehicle" or HGV, it is one of China's unmanned, rocket-launched, and maneuverable aircrafts that glides and "skips" through the Earth's atmosphere at faster and higher speeds, lower altitudes, and less-trackable trajectories.
Citing the US intelligence sources, the Tokyo-based The Diplomat has learned that the missiles were twice tested last year by the People's Liberation Army Rocket Force (PLARF), with the first test carried out on November 1 and the latter two weeks later.
The first test was done from the Jiuquan Space Launcher Center in Inner Mongolia. It flew to a range of approximately 1,400 kilometers with a depressed altitude of around 60 kilometers – the first Chinese ballistic missile test to occur after the conclusion of the first plenum of the Communist Party last October.
Both tests were successful and the DF-17 is believed to be operational by around 2020.
"Compared to conventional ballistic missiles, HGV's are more complex and difficult to intercept.", told Zhou Chenming, a Beijing-based military analyst, to the South China Morning Post.
He was also quoted as saying that "the US, Japan, and India should be worried about China's developments in HGV technology" because of its ability to reach its targets quickly and accurately leaving the defense systems less time to intercept the missile before dropping its payload.
Furthermore, to add to the threats; Antony Wong Dong, a Macau-based military observer stated that "China's HGV's could destroy the THAAD radar system…" or the Terminal High Altitude Area Defence (THAAD) – the US anti-missile system which is currently deployed in South Korea, warding off attacks from North Korea.
It has been well-known that China squabbles with the rest of the world to defend and prove its global power in space programs.
Perhaps, its very popular rival is Japan – from the ancient wars until the recent issues (i.e, Nanking massacre and the very recent territorial disputes over the Diaoyu Islands) – these two countries seem to be very far from reconciliation. China has obviously overtaken Japan in outer space. And although Tokyo is rebounding from a series of launch vehicle failures, there is no visible progress yet.
India, the second largest country in Asia after China, and one of China's rivals in space technology; has pursued powering up their own programs since 1962. However, still lacks the breadth of technology that Beijing has. Furthermore, aside from space talks, being the two of the fastest growing economies in the world; the two have been racing towards securing their resources to sustain economic growth – such as energy.
And finally, the US – which complex relationship with China, like Japan, might take more than an aggressive tone to change (most especially when Donald J. Trump took position) – has lumped China as a power that seeks to "challenge American power, influence, and interests" and erode the country's security.
However, when it comes to space rivalry – most specifically defense systems – China might have been holding a grudge against the US THAAD. THAAD is a ground-based missile defense system designed to shoot ballistic missiles when coming down. The systems are currently deployed in a number of places around the world – including Guam and Hawaii. But in 2016, another system was deployed in South Korea which was explained to be a defense system against North Korea.
Why is China angry anyway? Experts believe that it is mainly because of the sophisticated radar capabilities of THAAD that could be used to track China's missile systems – potentially giving Washington a major advantage.
In retaliation, aside from hurting its neighbors economically (i.e., South Korea and Japan), the DF-17 was then developed.
A nuclear researcher for Global Policy in Beijing, Zhao Tong, has been quoted saying that "China worries about the impact the US missile defense system would have on China's counterstrike capability." Moreover, he added that it is one China's biggest concerns – hence, the recently tested hypersonic missile was launched.Read More...
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