All CISAC News Commentary October 29, 2021

China's Hypersonic Weapons Tests Don't Have to be a Sputnick Moment

China conducted a series of tests with nuclear-capable hypersonic weapons systems that have gotten the attention of officials across the U.S. government. The tests included a hypersonic glide vehicle — a delivery mechanism that can maneuver through the Earth’s atmosphere towards its target — and incorporated a fractional orbital bombardment system.
Rocket blasting
Missile Defense Agency

This summer, China conducted a series of tests with nuclear-capable hypersonic weapons systems that have clearly gotten the attention of officials across the U.S. government. The tests included a hypersonic glide vehicle — a delivery mechanism that can maneuver through the Earth’s atmosphere towards its target — and also incorporated a fractional orbital bombardment system. Because a fractional orbital bombardment system can deliver its payload by entering into lower orbit and then “dropping” it on the target, it could reach the U.S. homeland via the South Pole, bypassing U.S. early warning systems and missile defenses, which are primarily geared towards the interception of ballistic missiles from the north.

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