BEIJING- With Congress laser-focused on trying to hype up the Capitol siege on January 6, 2021, as “the greatest threat to our democracy” in history, China is in fact taking steps that may make our democracy history.
According to the Daily Mail, China claims it has developed heat-seeking hypersonic missiles which would reduce our aircraft carriers, stealth fighters and other moving vehicles to rubble.
It is believed, although Beijing has denied it, that China in fact tested a hypersonic missile last August, a stunning development given the fact that such missiles are capable of being armed with a nuclear warhead.
The launch of the hypersonic missile, which Law Enforcement Today reported on, caught Pentagon officials off-guard, unaware that China’s hypersonic missile had advanced to such a level.
Chinese officials have insisted that nuclear weapons would not be used as an offensive weapon and only in self-defense, however says its nuclear stockpiles need to be updated, Liberty Bunker reported.
China’s development of sophisticated heat-seeking hypersonic missiles would be a significant change in how warfare is conducted, sources say. According to researchers, new developments in infrared sensors in China are pushing the communist nation’s development of hypersonic weapons forward.
The first generation of hypersonic weapons allowed fixed targets on the ground to be hit at five times the speed of sound through missile defense systems, rendering those systems virtually impotent.
While hypersonic missiles have been in the arsenals of both China and Russia for some time, sources say, most other countries, apparently including the United States, believed them not to be practical unless a nuclear war was being considered.
Fu Cong, director general of the Chinese foreign ministry’s department of arms control said last week that despite the Pentagon’s claims, Beijing still lags far behind the United States, however noted that:
“China will continue to modernize its nuclear arsenal for reliability and safety concerns.”
Fu also noted that since the United States and Russia maintain the largest number of nuclear warheads, those two nations should be the first to make cuts to their respective arsenals.
Last week, five member nations of the UN Security Council—the United States, China, Russia, Great Britain, and France—warned in a joint statement that “a nuclear war cannot be won and must never be fought.”
The statement also addressed previous goals and reaffirmed them, those of preventing the further spread of nuclear weapons and the ultimate goal of “a world without nuclear weapons” as addressed in the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons.
A Chinese official said that despite calls to change China’s policy of not using nuclear weapons as a first-strike weapon, Beijing will hold to its policy.
“China has always adhered to a nuclear strategy of self-defense, pursues a policy of no first use of nuclear weapons and maintains its nuclear power at the lowest level required to maintain national security,” the official said.
In November, the Pentagon released a report which estimated China is believed to be capable of possessing approximately 700 nuclear warheads by 2027 and 1,000 by 2030.
China however continued to voice concerns over the Aukus Alliance, a three-way strategic alliance between the United States, Great Britain and Australia which was initially formed to develop a class of nuclear powered submarines.
However, the alliance will also work together to deal with what is believed to be an increasing threat by China in the Indo-Pacific region, The Guardian reported.
China has condemned Aukus however, claiming it could lead to an arms race and nuclear proliferation in Asia.
All of that, however, hasn’t stopped Beijing from developing hypersonic missile technology that would allow such a missile to acquire its target based on its heat signature.
The Daily Mail reported that research cited in the South China Morning Post said that according to lead scientist Professor Yi Shihe writing in a scientific paper published in December, China has made “a series of core technology breakthroughs that were proven effective in tests.”
If Yi’s claims are true, China has advanced the capability of missiles operating at hypersonic speeds which use heat-seeking technology.
The reason such technology has been difficult to acquire is because due to the speed of such missiles, they generate a heat signature which can interfere with the weapon’s detection systems.
What makes hypersonic missiles so worrisome is the speed at which they travel—up to 21,000 miles per hour, which would allow them to strike anywhere on Earth from space within mere minutes.
One of the reasons former President Donald Trump developed the Space Force, which was laughed at by Trump haters was due to such technology being developed by would-be enemies such as China and Russia.
A number of experts have expressed concerns that such missiles could be used to spark a third World War as China, Russia and the United States are all working on hypersonic missiles.
Yi’s research paper addressed a number of breakthroughs in infrared homing technology.
Among those developments is a device which cools the surface of infrared windows, which would normally crack at high temperatures. The paper claims the advancement would be a transformation of conventional warfare.
Typically, heat seeking missiles work best at high altitudes where the air is less dense. However Beijing is believed to have developed technology allowing heat-seeking missiles to work at lower altitudes in denser air.
The South China Morning Post said that the US Defense Department has been asking contractors to work on the development of such infrared sensors for American hypersonic missiles. However it is believed it will take about four years to achieve that result.
The Mail noted that according to US defense expert Michele Flournoy, the United States is now in a “very serious great power competition” after 20 years of focusing primarily on counterterrorism efforts.
“While we were focused on the broader Middle East, these countries went to school on the Western way of war. And they started investing massively in a whole host of new technologies,” Flournoy told BBC’s Today program.
Flournoy, who worked as the Pentagon’s policy chief for US strategy under both Clinton and Obama continued, warning:
“We are really at a strategic inflection point where we—the US, the UK and our allies—are coming out of 20 years of focusing on counterterrorism and counter-insurgency, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and lifting our gaze to realize we are now in a very serious great power competition.”
According to the Mail, the US military has several hypersonic weapons programs among the Army, Navy and Air Force, however they are primarily in the development phase and highly top secret.
The difference between the US program and that revealed by China this week is that our systems are a more conventional design that strikes from high altitude, rather than space-based systems such as China’s.
It is believed the only hypersonic weapon in the US inventory is the Air Force’s GM-183 ARRW, designed to be launched from a large bomber aircraft, such as B-52s.
Once launched, the missile then accelerates to hypersonic speeds of up to 15,345 mph using what is described as a “supersonic combustion ramjet” designed to strike targets within a range of 1,000 miles, a weapon referred to by former President Trump as a “super duper missile.”
The United States Navy, as well as the Army are also believed to be developing hypersonic weapons as well, but most details have been kept close to the vest.
In the case of the Army, Darpa, the branch’s scientific wing recently announced successful tests of a weapon referred to as a HAWC missile (Hypersonic Air-breathing Weapon Concept) which uses oxygen in the atmosphere as part of its fuel.
Last March, the Pentagon flight-tested a hypersonic glide vehicle at its Pacific Missile Range Facility in Hawaii, which was deemed a success and a step toward the Pentagon’s goal of fielding hypersonic warfighting capabilities sometime in the early to mid-2020s.
The United States says it the country isn’t developing hypersonic weapons for use with nuclear warheads, therefore any such weapons developed by the US will need to be more accurate, which poses additional technical challenges.
The weapons being developed by China however, using what is called a Fractional Orbital Bombardment System (FOBS), are designed to evade US missile defenses.
Current US defenses are designed to detect launches of Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles (ICBMs), which are long-range missiles that can be armed with nuclear warheads. The missiles are tracked up into space, then as the missiles descend back toward their targets, they are taken out.
Because traditional ICBMs follow a predictable path, they are much easier to spot and the system can more easily track the missiles so they can be shot out of the sky.
FOBS, however, render such systems virtually impotent, since warheads are fired at a lower trajectory, using the Earth’s gravity to assist. They pass under the scope of many radar detection systems, and are therefore harder to track. Moreover their trajectory is harder to calculate making them much harder to intercept and destroy.
By utilizing space-deployed systems, the range of such missiles (and theoretically nuclear warheads) would be nearly unlimited, which means in essence it can be fired at a target from any direction. Current missile defense systems in the United States are directed toward a fixed spot in the sky…in our case, the North Pole.
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