Beijing’s test launch of an orbiting hypersonic missile last summer was China longest range land attack weapons tested to date. An intercontinental ballistic missile was reportedly equipped with a hypersonic glider that allowed it to travel at an ultra-high speed. The maneuvering missile is believed to have used what is known as a “fractional orbital bombardment system” (FOBS).
This reportedly caused the rocket to travel a staggering 24,800 miles into space before re-entering the atmosphere and successfully hitting an Earth target.
According to a report by the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) on space threats, the test was just one piece in a horrific puzzle – space weapons built and deployed by China and Russia targeting US targets.
The DIA report claims that these weapons are specifically aimed at targeting U.S. satellites used by the military for communications and precision-guided missiles.
DIA Director Lieutenant General Scott Berrier said: “The loss of space-based communications and navigation services could have a devastating impact on combatants during a conflict – this is one of the most serious scenarios expected.
“A secure, stable and accessible space domain is crucial as China and Russia’s space-based capabilities and electronic warfare activities continue to grow.”
The report also claimed that China has been developing space-based weapons since 2006 for attacks on “land, sea or air targets from space.”
This also comes as China has made hundreds of new silos for long-range nuclear missiles.
Beijing has also built an arsenal of anti-satellite weapons and has routinely fired rockets into space.
Experts Bleddyn Bowen and Cameron Hunter of the University of Leicester said in a statement: “At least this does not change the nuclear terror balance between Beijing and Washington.”
Prof Bowen added: “It is still unclear at this time what exactly was being tested by the Chinese military.
“But if it were a FOBS-like capability, it is unlikely that it would be deployed on a large scale due to the cost of deploying the high number of weapons required for a meaningful nuclear capability, the inefficiency of US missile defense to to defend itself against China’s existing nuclear weapons, and the very limited gains that FOBS provides in addition to China’s existing nuclear forces on Earth. “