China successfully carried out a flight test of its state-of-the-art high-speed maneuvering warhead last week, sources in the Pentagon said. The trial took place just days after a hypersonic glider was reportedly tested by Russia.
The DF-ZF hypersonic glide vehicle was launch on Friday by a ballistic missile fired from the Wuzhai site in central China, unnamed US military officials told the Washington Free Beacon website.
The maneuvering glider was tracked by American satellites as it was traveling at the speed of several thousand kilometers per hour along the edge of the atmosphere towards an impact area in the west of the country, the sources said.
It was the seventh air trial of the Chinese glide vehicle, with six previous tests conducted in 2014 and 2015 also having been successful.
According to the Washington Free Beacon, US intelligence fears that Beijing may use DF-ZF (formerly codenamed WU-14 by the Pentagon), capable of reaching speeds of over 11,000 kilometers per hour, to deliver nuclear weapons bypassing even the most complex of missile defense systems.
The glider could also become a part of a conventional strategic strike weapon that would enable China to hit targets anywhere in the world within just an hour.
Glide vehicles are lifted to the high upper atmosphere by ballistic missiles and then glide at speeds five times faster than the speed of sound.
Pentagon spokesman, Cmdr. Bill Urban, declined to comment on the fresh Chinese maneuvering warhead test, but stressed that the US military “do monitor Chinese military modernization carefully.” Full Report