China performed the third test flight of its new Wu-14 hypersonic missile 0712142

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Defence & Security News - China

 
 
Sunday, December 7, 2014 10:59 AM
 
China performed the third test flight of its new Wu-14 hypersonic missile.
China performed the third flight test of its new hypersonic missile Wu-14 this week as part of its strategic nuclear program and efforts to develop delivery vehicles capable of defeating US countermeasures, defense officials said.
     
China performed the third flight test of its new hypersonic missile Wu-14 this week as part of its strategic nuclear program and efforts to develop delivery vehicles capable of defeating US countermeasures, defense officials said.
Futurist drawing of the Wu-14 hypersonic missile
     

The flight test of the developmental Wu-14 hypersonic glide vehicle was monitored by US intelligence agencies Tuesday during a flight test in western China.

The latest flight test followed earlier tests of the Wu-14 on Jan. 9 and Aug. 7. The three tests indicate that China’s development of a strike vehicle capable of traveling up to eight times the speed of sound is a high-priority element in China’s large-scale military buildup.

WU-14 is the Pentagon's code name for a Chinese hypersonic glide vehicle (HGV). The HGV is intended to be less susceptible to anti-ballistic missile countermeasures than conventional reentry vehicles (RVs).

The WU-14 could be fitted to various Chinese ballistic missiles, such as the DF-21 medium-range missile and the DF-31 and DF-41 intercontinental ballistic missiles, extending their ranges from 2,000 km to 3,000 km and 8,000 km to 12,000 km respectively.

The hypersonic missile program has been years in the making. In 2009, the US Naval Institute (USNI) reported that China was developing a "kill weapon" for their nuclear program. They warned that the weapon could be used to "strike carriers and other US vessels at a range of 2000km." The report mentions the possibility of such a weapon to go at Mach 10 speed.

Analysts suspect that the WU-14 will first be used in shorter-range roles as an anti-ship missile and for other tactical purposes to address the problem of hitting a moving target with a ballistic missile.

 

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