US Top General Calls Chinese Missile Test Very Worrying
According to US top general Mark Milley, China’s test last summer with a hypersonic missile is “very worrying”.
In an interview with Bloomberg, Milley calls the missile test “almost a Sputnik moment,” referring to the Soviet Union’s 1957 satellite launch of Sputnik, which sparked the Cold War arms race.
“I read in some newspapers that the term Sputnik moment was used. I don’t know if it’s a real Sputnik moment, but I think it’s very close to that. A significant technological event has taken place: this has our full attention,” said the senior US general.
Business newspaper Financial Times reported earlier this month based on insiders that China would have tested a hypersonic missile in August that offers new possibilities in the nuclear field. According to the sources, the Chinese weapon, a kind of glider, was launched with a rocket, after which it orbited the Earth in space. Then it whizzed toward its target at tremendous speed, like a space shuttle returning to Earth. However, several tens of kilometres would have missed the target.
So far, the Pentagon, the United States Department of Defense, has declined to comment on the incident. Milley says in the interview that the Chinese military is “expanding rapidly”. The Chinese authorities deny that a rocket test has been conducted and speak of “a reusable spacecraft for peaceful purposes”. A spokesman for the United States Department of Defense declined to comment further on Milley’s comment on Wednesday.
Hypersonic missiles can be equipped with nuclear weapons and travel five times faster than sound. In addition, unlike ballistic missiles, hypersonic missiles fly in orbits low in the atmosphere, potentially allowing them to reach their target faster.
In addition to China, the US, Russia, and at least five other countries are also working on developing hypersonic technology. However, for the time being, countries are less able to defend themselves against hypersonic missiles than against other missiles.