US Top General Says Alleged Chinese Hypersonic Missile Launch Was 'Very Close to Sputnik Moment'

© REUTERS / Patrick Semansky/PoolChairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Mark Milley speaks during a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on the conclusion of military operations in Afghanistan and plans for future counterterrorism operations, on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., September 28, 2021.
Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Mark Milley speaks during a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on the conclusion of military operations in Afghanistan and plans for future counterterrorism operations, on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., September 28, 2021. - Sputnik International, 1920, 27.10.2021
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Beijing, however, denies that the alleged hypersonic missile launch took place, as the FT reported earlier this month. China insists that it launched a new reusable space rocket around the same time as the FT report.
Chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Mark Milley, has stated in an interview with Bloomberg that the recently reported launch of a hypersonic missile by China has left Washington very concerned. The general went as far as to put its significance next to the launch of the first artificial satellite, Sputnik, by the USSR, which alarmed the then-US government, as it showed that America was losing the space race.

"What we saw was a very significant event of a test of a hypersonic weapon system. And it is very concerning. I don't know if it’s quite a Sputnik moment, but I think it’s very close to that. It has all of our attention."

U.S. Army General Mark Milley smiles as he begins his testimony at a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on his nomination to become the Army's chief of staff, on Capitol Hill in Washington July 21, 2015 - Sputnik International
General Mark Milley
Chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff
Milley went on to point out the progress that China has made in its development, not only in the space and cyber spheres, but also in all the traditional military domains – air, land and sea, regularly rolling out new models of vehicles, armaments and equipment. He stressed that the Asian nation will undoubtedly be "the biggest geostrategic challenge" for the US in the next 10 to 25 years.

"They have gone from a peasant-based infantry army that was very, very large in 1979 to a very capable military that covers all the domains and has global ambitions."

U.S. Army General Mark Milley smiles as he begins his testimony at a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on his nomination to become the Army's chief of staff, on Capitol Hill in Washington July 21, 2015 - Sputnik International
General Mark Milley
Chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff
The Financial Times reported earlier this month that China had tested a nuclear-capable hypersonic missile in August 2021. According to the newspaper, citing anonymous sources, the test caught the US "by surprise," as the hypersonic glider managed to fly around the Earth orbit and then land a strike, missing its target by only a couple dozen miles. The significance of the test is that the alleged weapon is capable of flying over the south pole and striking US territory from a direction that is not as extensively covered by air defence radars as the northern border.
Chinese missile testing  - Sputnik International, 1920, 18.10.2021
China Denies Testing Nuclear-Capable Hypersonic Missile, Says It Was Space Vehicle Trial
China disputed the FT's report, saying that it had carried out the test in July, but it was not a hypersonic missile trial. Beijing stated that it had tested a new reusable space rocket, which would help it revolutionise space travel and cargo delivery. Similar rockets are used by the US-based SpaceX company.
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