China has tested new space capabilities with a hypersonic rocket in orbit, reports the Financial Times.
The British Economic and Financial Daily reported on Saturday, citing several sources familiar with the test, that Beijing launched a rocket with firearms in August that surrounded the earth in a low orbit before dropping to its target.
The rocket missed the target by more than 32 kilometers, three sources said.
According to the newspaper’s sources, the hypersonic device was transmitted by the Long March rocket, the launch of which is usually announced, while this test was kept secret in August.
China’s advances in hypersonic weapons have surprised US intelligence services, the article reads.
In addition to Beijing, the United States, Russia and at least five other countries are working on hypersonic technology.
Hypersonic missiles, as well as traditional ballistic missiles capable of carrying nuclear weapons, can fly at five times the speed of sound.
Ballistic missiles fly high in space and make an arc to reach the target, while hypersonic missiles have a low orbit in the atmosphere and can possibly reach their target faster.
In addition, the hypersonic missile is easy to maneuver, which means it is more difficult to detect and intercept.
Countries such as the United States have developed defense systems against speed and ballistic missiles, but the ability to detect and fire hypersonic missiles is not known.
According to a recent report by the US Congressional Research Service, China has developed this offensive technology as it is important to fight the progress of the US with hypersonic and other technologies.
The rehearsal took place at a time when tensions between the US and the Chinese were increasing and Beijing was expanding military activities near Taiwan, an autonomous island it considers its province.