China tests model aircraft to develop 'hypersonic weapons'

State media announced the test of three miniature scale aircraft at a test site in Gansu which occurred Sept. 21

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File Photo: PLA Rocket Force mobile missile platforms

File Photo: PLA Rocket Force mobile missile platforms (By Associated Press)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – Chinese state media reported on Saturday, Sept. 28th that the country’s rocket propulsion technology made important strides towards what the government is promoting as an “unstoppable hypersonic weapon.”

CCTV reported that testing for three hypersonic aircraft models was carried out on Sept. 21. At least one of the three designs, which were tested against one another, will be further developed to deliver missiles which can be launched from hypersonic platforms.

The “wide-speed-range aircraft” models were tested at the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in Gansu Province. The scaled models tested were identified as the D18-1S, D18-2S, and the D18-3S.


(Image from a PLA Twitter account)

The hypersonic label indicates that the aircraft should be capable of traveling faster than five times the speed of sound.

Chinese state media claims that, with the hypersonic flight capability, missiles carrying nuclear payloads can be launched at speeds that are too fast to be successfully monitored or stopped by any currently existing anti-missile defense arrays.

To account for the likelihood that other militaries will also soon have such hypersonic weapons' capabilities, CCTV reports that China is pursuing the development of high-powered lasers to create a next generation anti-missile defense system.

Business Insider reports that in August, Chinese scientists tested an experimental hypersonic glider called Starry Sky 2 that was reported to have reached a maximum speed of 7,344 km per hour, or six times the speed of sound.

The hypersonic glider, and the scale model tests of the “wide-speed-range aircraft” indicate that China’s jet propulsion capabilities are progressing quickly, although it will likely be years before such an aircraft is manufactured and the proposed weapon system is fully capable of delivering a payload at a hypersonic speed.

(From a PLA Twitter account)