Back to the Future, the Chinese Lead the Re-birth of Hypersonic Missiles

- PRESENT DANGER CHINA - By John Mills - The Epoch Times - OCT 20, 2021 -

Military vehicles carrying hypersonic DF-17 missiles travel past Tiananmen Square during a military parade in Beijing, China on Oct. 1, 2019. (Jason Lee/Reuters)

In a dramatic turn of events, while General Milley is concerned with understanding white rage, the Chinese conduct a startling test of a hypersonic missile.


This missile, with a more technical name of a Hypersonic Glide Vehicle (HGV) is boosted to low earth orbit and then conducts a hypersonic flight around the world, dipping into the atmosphere and then skimming back up into low space before diving down at its target. The HGV approach offers unique attributes that makes it a desired capability in the strategic weapons quiver.


Legacy intercontinental ballistic missiles have a higher, more predictable arc through space which makes shooting them down a relatively easier math and operational problem set. HGVs are harder to track, detect, and engage.


They also proffer the capability for multiple bomb drops (Fractional Orbital Bombardment—FOB) before they finish their flight. This is not a new missile or capability; this is a re-discovering of the lost arts of the missile duel of the Cold War between the United States and the Soviet Union.


The Original Hypersonic Weapons System


A forgotten part of Cold War History is the Boeing X-20 DynaSoar (Dynamic Soaring Vehicle). The X-20 is still shrouded in semi-secrecy (it has been substantively de-classified) and perhaps intentional obfuscation.


It has been described as a research vehicle, orbital bomber, reconnaissance craft, maintenance cart, and a re-supply vehicle to the emerging “Air Force” Manned Orbiting Laboratory (MOL) which is another mystery-shrouded program in itself.


These two efforts were really led by the CIA, back during a time when the CIA pushed the envelope to protect America instead of working to topple a president.


The X-20 was big, it was bold, it personified the boundless vision of the Kennedy Administration, and it was an incredible leap forward in technologies. It doubled down U.S. strategic superiority over the Soviets. Yet the X-20 is most often referenced as a “failed” program. It is a forgotten asterisk in Cold War history.


Not so fast, I would assert the X-20 was as much an information operation as it was a revolutionary HGV. It did represent an advanced operational capability which would have given the United States a decisive advantage over the Soviets. It freaked out the Soviets who were beside themselves in trying to match this capability.


It essentially stared down the Soviets into signing the Space Treaty in 1967, which limited HGVs, FOBs (fractional orbital bombardment system), and so on. The Space Treaty ostensibly, de-militarized space. Mission accomplished—the Soviets signed the treaty, and the X-20 was no longer needed.


China is a signatory nation of the Space Treaty, as is the country of Taiwan. But with the flight of the Chinese HGV and the obvious next logical step of arming the HG-17 with a warhead (or warheads), the effectiveness and enforceability of the Space Treaty is in question.


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