17:58 GMT +326 March 2017

    Russia’s, China’s Real Hypersonic Gliders Able to Break US THAAD System

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    Both Russia and China have recently successfully tested their offset hypersonic gliders, capable of breaching the American THAAD system (Terminal High Altitude Area Defense), which it plans to deploy in South Korea; the test comes as a “warning to the US,” according to Chinese military experts.

    “The hypersonic tests by China and Russia are aimed at causing a threat to the US, which plans to set up a missile defense system in South Korea,” the South China Morning Post, a Hong Kong-based English-language newspaper writes, quoting Professor He Qisong, a defense policy specialist at the Shanghai University of Political Science and Law.

    His comment refers to the recent successful tests by the two countries of their offset Hypersonic Gliders.

    The view is echoed by Beijing-based military expert Li Jie, who said that China was trying to use the recent DF-ZF test to warn the US that the PLA (Chinese People’s Liberation Army) had “another powerful weapon capable of countering the THAAD system.”

    Two Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) interceptors are launched during a successful intercept test. File photo
    Two Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) interceptors are launched during a successful intercept test. File photo

    The US proposes to deploy the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system in South Korea, claiming it is needed to protect its regional allies from North Korea.

    The proposal has already been condemned by both China and Russia as an aggravation of the situation on the Korean Peninsula.

    Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, together with his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi warned on Friday against using Pyongyang’s activities, such as the recent nuclear test and multiple missile launches, as a pretext for building up US military presence in the region.

    Last week Beijing conducted the seventh successful test of its DF-ZF glide vehicle designed to defeat US missile defenses.

    The WU-14 hypersonic glide vehicle. Artist's rendering.
    The WU-14 hypersonic glide vehicle. Artist's rendering.

    The DF-ZF is an ultra-high-speed missile which can travel at speeds between Mach 5 and Mach 10, which is 5 to 10 times the speed of sound and is capable of penetrating US air defense systems based on interceptor missiles.

    The hypersonic strike vehicle (Pentagon’s previous code name WU-14) consists of a rocket that reaches the upper atmosphere to then release a glider that reaches hypersonic speeds upon descent.

    The ballistic missile booster was fired from the Wuzhai missile launch center in central China.

    It transported the DF-ZF HGV (hypersonic glide vehicle) near the edge of the atmosphere, the boundary between space and Earth’s atmosphere, approximately 100 km above the ground, where it separated from its launcher and then glided to an impact range a few thousands kilometers away, according to the Washington Free Beacon.

    Once HGV reaches that height, it begins to glide in a relatively flat trajectory by executing a pull-up maneuver and accelerates to speeds of up to Mach 10. Its velocity can range between 6,400 kilometers per hour to 11,200 kilometers per hour.

    The gliding phase enables the HGV not only to maneuver aerodynamically – performing evasive actions and evading interception – but also extends the range of the missile.

    The maneuvering glider, traveling at several thousand kilometers per hour, was tracked by satellites as it flew west along the edge of the atmosphere to an impact area in the western part of the country.

    It still remains unclear whether the DF-ZF HGV will be armed with nuclear or conventional warheads.

    The DF-ZF HGV could also be launched atop an anti-ship ballistic missile to target naval assets. For example, a DF-21 armed with a DF-ZF HGV would extend the missile’s range from 2,000 to over 3,000 km (2,485 miles).

    According to the US intelligence officials, the DF-ZF could be used as part of a conventional strategic strike weapon capable of hitting targets around the world within an hour.

    The Pentagon has kept a close eye on the development of the DF-ZF since it was first tested in January 2014.

    The congressional US-China Economic and Security Review Commission stated in its most recent annual report that the hypersonic glide vehicle program was “progressing rapidly” and that the new strike weapon could be deployed by 2020.

    A more powerful version was also in development and could be fielded by 2025, it said.

    The Chinese Defense Ministry confirmed another Beacon report that Beijing tested its newest intercontinental ballistic missile, the DF-41 which has a range of at least 12,000km on April 12.

    Also in April, Russia conducted its second flight test of a revolutionary hypersonic glide vehicle, known as 3M22 Zircon glider.

    The hypersonic glider was launched atop RS-18A strategic ballistic missile (UR-100N, NATO designation SS-19 Stiletto) from eastern Russia andis reported to be successful.

    However no details were provided on how fast the vehicle went or the distance it traveled.

    Russia’s 3M22 vehicle is expected to enter into production in 2018.

    hypersonic weapons, glider, vehicles, test, missiles, Terminal High-Altitude Area Defense (THAAD), China, United States, Russia
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    • avatar
      The best action to prevent aggression acts of one party or both is you are in my yard and I am in your yard
    • Jet fuel can't melt steel beams
      Russia's stuff is the best stuff! .. the us are getting angry! :)
    • avatar
      As my dad use to say to me, Russian engineering is second to none. Wise observation indeed.
    • avatar
      I know these kind on systems are not new in Russia. I love reading. And I read about such , on docs dating from Soviet days.
      Just like I found about the missile that knocked the F117. It was ONE experimental missile, left behind. Looked identical but was capable of search for STEALTH. According to Soviet docs.
      And way much more.
      But this are not offensive weapons. They deterrence, which is very different, and I always ask myself, why go into compromises?
      Right now Russia could had mid range missiles, conventional if it wasn't for the obvious one. China , Pak, ANYONE could build them, except , Russia. Makes no sense.

      New grads that get in the fields will be bound by senseless laws.
    • flatzee
      The old defense doctrine is out of date, these next generation high tech weapons are the only way to have security by deterring aggression and portray the don't miss with Russia/China approach, otherwise you're going to have the U.S generals plotting plans to weaken or worse yet a war on the count they consider Russia and China a threat.
    • Neochrome
      If the world has any sense it would build a wall around US. Everyone happy.
    • avatar
      Shooting down is not as good as shooting at. I would rather be the one shooting at you, not the one shooting my missiles down.
    • Writing on the wall. US definitely wants to keep dollar as reserve currency by force. nuclear war looks guaranteed.
    • FlorianGeyerin reply toJet fuel can't melt steel beams(Show commentHide comment)
      Jet fuel can't melt steel beams,
      The US will follow in the footsteps of every other nation that created an empire by force of arms and 'regime change ' to plunder other nations. All such empires in the history of the world have failed eventually.

      Russia and China are a step too far for the Washington war Hawks.
    • avatar
      The backbone of the USA aggression abroad are the aircraft carriers. One possible scenario is to put all nuclear weapons on ready to launch alert and let the USA know about it and than wipe out all US aircraft carriers in one go with the supersonic gliders.
    • Jet fuel can't melt steel beamsin reply toFlorianGeyer(Show commentHide comment)
      FlorianGeyer, I agree karma will strike them i think all the innocent lives taken need justice indeed.
    • avatar
      Is THAAD a military threat to our frenemies or merely a commercial opportunity for the US. Presumably South Korea is not being offered this stuff for free.
    • Adrienne Adonis
      It's getting real ugly now
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