SOURCES – freebeacon, interfax, people’s daily online
The “DF-ZF” glider can travel at speeds between Mach 5 and Mach 10, which is 5 to 10 times the speed of sound.
Pentagon officials also confirmed China successfully flight tested its new high-speed maneuvering warhead last week, days after Russia carried out its own hypersonic glider test.
The test of the developmental DF-ZF hypersonic glide vehicle was monitored after launch Friday atop a ballistic missile fired from the Wuzhai missile launch center in central China, said officials familiar with reports of the test.
The maneuvering glider, traveling at several thousand miles 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 was the seventh successful flight test of the revolutionary glider, which travels at speeds between 4,000 and 7,000 miles per hour.
U.S. intelligence officials have assessed that China plans to use the glider to deliver nuclear weapons through increasingly sophisticated missile defenses. The DF-ZF also could be used as part of a conventional strategic strike weapon capable of hitting targets around the world within an hour.
The congressional U.S.-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 powered version also is in development and could be fielded by 2025.
The test firing of the hypersonic glider took place Tuesday and involved the launch of an SS-19 intercontinental ballistic missile from eastern Russia, said officials familiar with details of the test.
Russia’s state-run Interfax news agency confirmed the test on Thursday