China's New Hypersonic Missiles Could Hit Anywhere in the U.S. in Under an Hour: Chinese Experts

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Military vehicles carrying DF-26 ballistic missiles drive past the Tiananmen Gate during a military parade to mark the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II on September 3, 2015, in Beijing. Military analysts have warned that China's new hypersonic ballistic missile could destroy U.S. defense systems. Getty

Chinese military analysts have claimed that China’s new hypersonic ballistic missile, the DF-17, could destroy U.S. defense systems by flying fast and low to evade detection.

China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA) fired the rockets, capable of reaching speeds of up to 7,680 miles per hour, in November. The Diplomat reported that the missiles traveled approximately 1,400 kilometers, passing through the Earth’s atmosphere at 10 times the speed of sound.

And because the HGV—which stands for hypersonic glide vehicle—is able to travel at lower altitudes, U.S. defense systems will have less time to intercept it before it reaches its target.

Song Zhongping, a former member of the PLA’s Second Artillery Corps, told the South China Morning Post that the HGV system can be used to carry various kinds of ballistic missiles, including intercontinental ones with a range of at least 5,500 kilometers.

The HGV warheads could also be used with the DF-41, which has a range of at least 12,000 kilometers and can hit anywhere in the U.S. in under an hour, he added.

Macau-based military expert Antony Wong Dong believes that HGVs could be used to successfully obliterate a U.S. anti-missile THAAD defense system.

“China’s HGVs could destroy the THAAD radar system,” Wong said. “Once the THAAD radars fail to function in the first stage, it could reduce the window to raise the alarm about the PLA’s [intercontinental ballistic missiles]...leaving the U.S. without enough time to intercept.”

Zhou Chenming, a military analyst, told the South China Morning Post, “Compared to conventional ballistic missiles, HGVs are more complex and difficult to intercept.”

“The U.S., Japan and India should be worried about China’s developments in HGV technology because it can reach targets quicker and more accurately, with military bases in Japan and even nuclear reactors in India being targeted.”

China has recently increased efforts to rejuvenate the country’s military and defense force by modernizing their missiles, bombers and warships.