By Phil Stewart
WASHINGTON, (Reuters) – General Mark Milley is the top U.S. Military officer and has confirmed that a Chinese hypersonic weapon test was conducted. Experts believe this confirms Beijing’s desire to launch an Earth-orbiting missile defence system to evade American missile defenses.
The Pentagon attempted to avoid confirmation of this Chinese test, which was first reported in the Financial Times. President Joe Biden along with other officials expressed concerns over Chinese hypersonic weapons production.
Milley, however, confirmed the test and claimed that it was close to the Sputnik moment. He was referring to Russia’s launch of the first manmade satellite in 1957 which placed Moscow at the top of the Cold War-era race for space.
What we witnessed was an extremely significant demonstration of the hypersonic weapon systems. It is extremely concerning”, Milley, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said in an interview on Wednesday.
Experts on nuclear arms say that China’s weapon test was designed to bypass U.S. defenses. Hypersonics can travel faster than sound at speeds up to 5,200 kilometers per hour (3,853 miles/h). This makes it harder for them to be detected and intercepted.
Reuters has been told secondly by sources that America believes China launched a weapon into orbit for the first time. Military experts believe that this is Cold War doctrine known as “fractional or orbital bombardment.”
Air Force Secretary Frank Kendall spoke out last month about his worries about the system. He told reporters that a weapon would be launched into orbit, then drop on an object.
“If you use that kind of an approach, you don’t have to use a traditional ICBM trajectory — which is directly from the point of launch to the point of impact,” he said.
“It is a way of avoiding defenses and missile warning system.”
Fractional Orbital Bombardment is also a means for China to bypass U.S. Missile Defenses in Alaska. They are specifically designed to fight a few weapons from countries like North Korea.
Jeffrey Lewis from the Middlebury Institute of International Studies said this: “Imagine a spaceship and a nuclear weapon inside the cargo area. Then forget about landing gear.
Lewis stated that there is one difference between the Chinese entry system and a glider.
China’s foreign minister denied that it had conducted a weapon test. The foreign ministry denied that China had conducted a weapons test. However, they said the routine test was done in July.
The U.S. defenses cannot withstand a massive attack by Russia or China, which would overwhelm the system. Experts say that the U.S. has been openly seeking to develop more sophisticated missile defenses, which has caused Moscow and Beijing, to look for ways to defeat them.
Both the United States of America and Russia tested hypersonic weapons.
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