The U.S. Army and Navy tested several hypersonic weapon component prototypes that will determine the development of new weapons, the Department of Defense (DOD) confirmed on Oct. 21, saying that all three tests were deemed successful.
The Pentagon, in a statement on Oct. 21, said the Sandia National Laboratories ran the tests from NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia, adding that the tests will help “inform the development of the Navy’s Conventional Prompt Strike (CPS) and the Army’s Long Range Hypersonic Weapon (LRHW) offensive hypersonic strike capability.”
The tests “demonstrated advanced hypersonic technologies, capabilities, and prototype systems in a realistic operating environment,” the Pentagon stated.
“During weapon system development, precision-sounding rocket launches fill a critical gap between ground testing and full system flight testing,” the DOD added. “These launches allow for frequent and regular flight testing opportunities to support rapid maturation of offensive and defensive hypersonic technologies.”
White House officials earlier this week expressed concerns that China was testing a nuclear-capable hypersonic glide weapon, coming after the Financial Times, citing anonymous sources, reported that the regime tested a weapon in August that circled around the planet in space before dropping altitude and hitting its target. The weapon missed.
In another report published on Oct. 20, the Financial Times, citing “two people familiar with the matter,” stated that China carried out a second hypersonic glide vehicle on Aug. 13. The first test was reportedly carried out in late July, the report stated.
The Chinese regime through its official channels denied the Financial Times report, claiming it was a test of a space vehicle, and not a missile or other weapon.
Hypersonic weapons can travel in the upper atmosphere at around 3,850 miles per hour, or about five times the speed of sound. The United States has attempted to pursue such technology for decades to implement in its global strike program.
In the meantime, defense contractors including Raytheon and Lockheed Martin have been working to develop a hypersonic weapon for the United States.
The White House and DOD didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment on China’s alleged hypersonic testing. No federal government officials have publicly confirmed the tests.
Earlier this week, when asked by reporters about the Chinese regime obtaining such weapons technology, President Joe Biden, while leaving Washington for Pennsylvania, responded in the affirmative. Meanwhile, State Department spokesman Ned Price said the administration is very concerned about China’s nuclear capability and “novel delivery systems.”
Sen. Angus King (I-Maine), in expressing concern about reports that China tested hypersonic technology, said the “weapons are strategic game-changers with the dangerous potential to fundamentally undermine strategic stability as we know it.”
“The implications of these weapons under development by China or Russia could be catastrophic,” King was quoted by media outlets as saying.
U.S. disarmament ambassador Robert Wood stated that Washington was concerned that the United States hasn’t developed a means to counter China’s possible deployment of hypersonic weaponry.
“Hypersonic technology is something that we have been concerned about, the potential military applications of it, and we have held back from pursuing. We had held back from pursuing military applications for this technology,” Wood said at a press meeting in Geneva earlier in the week.
“But we have seen China and Russia pursuing very actively the use, the militarization of this technology, so we are just having to respond in kind. … We just don’t know how we can defend against that technology. Neither does China, neither does Russia.”
The Epoch Times has contacted the Pentagon for additional comment on the three tests.