The US is concerned about Chinese hypersonic missiles, President Joe Biden has said, days after a media report claimed that China recently tested a nuclear-capable hypersonic missile surprised US intelligence .
Asked at the White House on Thursday whether the US was concerned about the latest hypersonic missile tests by China, Biden told reporters “yes.”
Hypersonic missiles fly at a speed of at least Mach 5, which is more than five times the speed of sound.
The Financial Times reported this week that China has tested hypersonic missiles. However, China denied this, saying that it had tested a hypersonic “vehicle”, not a nuclear-capable hypersonic “missile”, as reported by the leading British newspaper, which also stated that the missile Missed her target by about two dozen miles.
The report said China tested a nuclear-capable hypersonic missile in August that circled the globe before accelerating toward its target, demonstrating an advanced space capability that surprised US intelligence.
According to National Public Radio, the new weapon would be important because it could strike the US from unexpected directions, such as the South Pole.
“The United States’ missile defense and early-warning radars point to the North Pole, the standard route for intercontinental ballistic missiles, so the country will be vulnerable to attack from the opposite direction,” it said.
The US is also developing hypersonic missiles.
The US Navy said Thursday that a day earlier, it successfully conducted a test run demonstrating advanced hypersonic technologies, capabilities and prototype systems in a realistic operating environment.
The Defense Department said the hypersonic weapons, capable of flying at speeds up to five times the speed of sound (Mach 5), are highly maneuverable and operate at varying altitudes.
The Pentagon’s budget request for hypersonic research is US$3.8 billion this year.