China has tested a brand new weapon: an orbital bombardment system that uses a hypersonic glider. What exactly does it do and what is the current threat to the U.S.?
Peter Brookes, a top research fellow that reviews weapons at The Heritage Foundation, spoke about this new stunning development.
“This weapon—due to its unlimited range—could fly over the South Pole and towards the U.S., which would allow it to have certain abilities that would be hard to defend against,” Brookes says. “For years, dating back to the American-Soviet Cold War, we have worked on our radar capabilities searching for things coming from the North Pole or from the east or west, but not from the south pole.”
“This new weapon is terrible because it is more than a hypersonic weapon. It challenges our interests and is a part of China’s recent boost in the strategic capabilities. It is a strategic weapon. The warhead that it has could be strategic or even nuclear weapon,” Brookes said.
“And they have also spoken about how they are increasing their land-based nuclear options too, as well as at sea. They also have a sea deterrent.”
“So this is bad news with the tensions between the United States and China right now. And it certainly allows China to have leverage internationally with its goals, which does not necessarily match that of the U.S. or our allies and friends.”
“The weapon has unlimited range because they are launching their hypersonic glide vehicle from a space-launch vehicle.”
“So imagine it piggybacking on a space-launch vehicle into low-Earth orbit, and then it will circle the planet. And then the hypersonic-glider will launch from the space-launch vehicle, and then travel to the target.”
“So essentially because you are putting it into orbit, its range is unlimited. And in the Northern hemisphere, which is the most common weapons delivery approach towards the U.S.—would probably be over the North Pole. But this weapon could be launched over the South Pole to the U.S., which would allow it capabilities that would be hard to defend from since we have only built our radar abilities over the Northern Pole or from west and east and not from the southern pole.”
Author: Scott Dowdy