Chinese Hypersonic Glide Vehicle ‘Went Around the World’ - JCS Vice Chair Warns

Vice Chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff General John Hyten warned on November 18th regarding the growing capabilities of Chinese intercontinental range missiles that the latest test of a hypersonic glide vehicle was highly concerning for American interests. "They launched a long-range missile. It went around the world, dropped off a hypersonic glide vehicle that glided all the way back to China, that impacted a target in China,” he said, stressing that it struck accurately. Hyten previously stressed on multiple occasions that U.S. adversaries, namely China, North Korea and Russia, were modernising their capabilities at a much faster pace than the U.S. He called the pace at which China's military is developing capabilities "stunning," warned that it could gain the capability to launch a surprise nuclear attack on the U.S. despite the small size of its nuclear arsenal.

China has gained a comfortable lead in hypersonic weapons over the Western world, and in 2019 began to field the DF-17 tactical ground based hypersonic missile which was the only weapon of its kind in the world. North Korea unveiled a similar weapon in September 2021, while the U.S. lacks any hypersonic glide vehicles in its arsenal. China launched a hypersonic glide vehicle with an intercontinental range in August, which could help to revolutionise its strategic deterrence capabilities. These weapons are effectively impossible to intercept, and can serve as a force multiplier for the country’s small nuclear arsenal by allowing its warheads to strike targets with greater reliability. It could thereby avoid the need for more missiles to be used against each target. 

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