Conducted at NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia, the tests were aimed at helping “inform the development of the Navy’s Conventional Prompt Strike (CPS) and the Army’s Long Range Hypersonic Weapon (LRHW) offensive hypersonic strike,” according to a Thursday statement from the Pentagon.
The tests took place on the same day that President Joe Biden admitted he was concerned about Chinese hypersonic weapons capabilities.
Both Army and Navy expect to conduct a flight test of the completed weapon at some point in the next 12 months. Hypersonic missiles travel at more than five times the speed of sound.
While China denied US accusations that it had conducted a test of nuclear-capable hypersonic missiles in August, Russia tested its own Tsirkon hypersonic missile earlier this month, successfully firing the high-tech projectile from a nuclear submarine. On Thursday, Moscow also confirmed another successful test of a missile capable of carrying hypersonic warheads.
Beijing has mocked the US’ worried response to China’s weapons development, with the editor-in-chief of a Chinese state media group suggesting on Thursday that Washington return to the Cold War-era “mutually assured destruction” doctrine of deterrence, based on the rationale that neither side would strike first knowing that the other had the capacity to wipe out its enemy.
The jibe came in response to a new Financial Times report claiming that China had conducted two missile tests during the summer, not one, as the paper had originally reported.
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