China may have deployed hypersonic weapon against US, says intel official
China is developing hypersonic weapons faster than Russia and may have already "deployed a weapon" that can reach American Pacific bases, as per the U.S. intelligence agency.
China is pursuing an intercontinental ballistic missile with a hypersonic glide warhead that has been tested since 2014, according to a statement made by Paul Freisthler, the chief scientist for Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) analysis division, on Friday.
"While both China and Russia have conducted numerous successful tests of hypersonic weapons and have likely fielded operational systems," Freisthler told a House Armed Services subcommittee.
"China is leading Russia in both supporting infrastructure and numbers of systems," Freisthler said of the weapons."
With intense, targeted investment, development, testing, and deployments, China has "dramatically advanced its development of conventional and nuclear-armed hypersonic missile technologies and capabilities," he further stated.
China's hypersonic lead
China's Academy of Aerodynamics claims to be running three hypersonic wind tunnels that can travel at accelerations of Mach 8, 10, and 12 (the speed of sound), according to Freisthler.
Currently, Russia has three operational systems, one of which is a Mach 8 sea-launched weapon. Since the invasion, Russia has reportedly fired a number of missiles at Ukraine locations, including this week.
Chinese military researchers are said to have made significant progress in enhancing the efficiency of air-breathing engines that use solid-state fuel for the hypersonic flight earlier in February.
The advancement might double China's hypersonic missiles' fighting power and double their operating range.
Ma Likun, the study's team leader and an associate professor at the National University of Defence Technology in Changsha, Hunan province, stated that such efficiency was considered "remarkable" - nearly twice that of a conventional scramjet engine operating under identical circumstances.
The prototype engine was tested in a ground simulation of a flight at a height of 25 kilometers (15.5 miles) and a speed of Mach 6.
It produced a fuel efficiency of 79 percent, which is nearly twice as high as a conventional scramjet engine under the same conditions.
Meanwhile, distinct systems are being developed by the Air Force, Navy, and Army, but the U.S. has not yet declared hypersonic weapons operational, said a Bloomberg report.