Thursday, December 2

How does the Chinese missile that can attack the US in Antarctica work?


Hyper missiles
Hypersonic missiles in Tiananmen.
  • China The Chinese hypersonic missile with nuclear capacity that “amazes” the US and that Beijing denies
  • China China tests hypersonic missile with nuclear capability

Hypersonic missiles make up the biggest leap in such weapons in more than 40 years cruise missiles appeared (that fly at ground level stuck to landforms) and Maneuverable Reentry Vehicles, or MARVs (which allow nuclear or conventional warheads to change course by dribbling in the atmosphere following their targets).

Both types of aircraft – cruise missiles and MARVs – they are much more difficult to detect and intercept. And hypersonic missiles take those characteristics to a new level that makes them, to this day, invulnerables. That, of course, if the missiles work. Because, according to Financial Times, the chinese missile miss the target by 38 kilometers.

For something to be “hypersonic” it has to go at least five times the speed of sound, which implies about 100 kilometers per minute. There are two types of missiles of this type: ballistics, like the one in China, and cruise missiles, like the one rehearsed by Russia in the Arctic in July.

An unstoppable weapon

This second type is actually a much faster cruise missile than the current ones. Cruise missiles do not exceed the speed of sound, that is, about 1,200 kilometers per hour. That means that, if they are detected, they can be shot down even with past machine guns (and good luck). But the Tsirkon cruise missile launched by Russia in the Barents Sea reached, according to Moscow, seven times the speed of sound, that is, more than 8,000 kilometers per hour. That means that it took just two and a half minutes to reach its target, located 350 kilometers, a distance similar to that between Madrid and Oviedo in a straight line, when a Tomahawk – a conventional US cruise missile – would have taken almost half an hour.

The Chinese-launched missile, however, is a different creature. It is a normal ballistic missile – in this case, a Long Macha 2C, according to Financial Times– with an atmospheric reentry head that, when targeting its target, does it at more than 6,000 kilometers per hour. As if that weren’t enough, the Chinese missile appears to have been orbiting the Earth. That poses a direct threat to the United States, since it means that the United States could be attacked from the Southern Hemisphere. All of America’s defense systems point north, to the Arctic, since that is the route from which the Soviet missiles will arrive, in the past, and Russians and Chinese, today.

Hypersonic ballistic missiles reach a much lower height than conventional missiles, since they are limited to being in the highest layers of the atmosphere, without going out into outer space. In addition, its head of entry changes speed, heading and altitude. The combination of both factors makes them very difficult to detect and impossible to intercept. Thus, the antimissile system developed by the United States in Alaska and California to protect itself from North Korean attacks will be virtually rendered useless. In fact, hitting a conventional ballistic missile is very difficult. The US has done 20 tests with these missiles. Of these, 11 were a success and 9 a failure.

The United States has been testing hypersonic missiles for years, but has not yet developed the technology sufficiently to deploy these weapons. Russia claims to have started the deployment of this type of weapons several years ago. The case of China is more difficult to assess, given that Beijing is expanding its missile forces, but denies that they include hypersonic weapons. In any case, Washington believes that both Moscow and Beijing have hypersonic missiles, although they are much more concerned about China because that country has infinitely greater economic resources than Russia. The US will not have such weapons in operation for several years.

North Korea claims to have launched a missile of these characteristics, in India is investigating this direction as well, as part of its rivalry with China. In any case, given the secrecy of the countries, added to the tendency to propaganda of the governments, it will be very difficult to know the state of development of this technology.

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