How the US faces catastrophic defeat by China or Russia in a hypersonic Third World War

Asia's Tech News Daily

Hypersonic warfare

The recent test of a hypersonic nuclear-capable missile by China is a reminder that any future major war between great powers will look very different to the last.

In addition to hypersonic weapons – launched into space and gliding to targets – we can probably also expect Artificial Intelligence “drone swarms”, and autonomous rockets delivering vehicles and supplies to battlefields.

Fighting forces will be smaller, more specialised, and knowledgeable about advanced technology. If that includes British soldiers they will use their biometrics to access real-time US intelligence held in an internet “combat cloud”.

Pentagon officials believe any such major conflict could start with an attempted preemptive “cyber Pearl Harbour,” in which the enemy, whether it be China or Russia, would try to tak down its communication systems, leaving it fighting blind.

US aircraft carrier superiority would no longer matter as the ships would be sitting ducks for nuclear-armed hypersonic missiles swooping in from space.

There was a muted reaction, at the White House and Pentagon, to reports of China's latest hypersonic missile test in August. That's because it was far from the first.

Seven years ago China started testing its Dong Feng-17 Hypersonic Glide Vehicle – known to Pentagon officials as the WU-14 – from the Taiyuan Satellite Launch Centre.

The Chang ‘e-5 lunar probe was successfully launched on a Long March 5 carrier rocket from the Wenchang Space Launch Site in Hainan province – AFP

Hypersonic means travelling above Mach 5, or five times the speed of sound. The DF-17 can do Mach 10 and carry a nuclear warhead. Last year, numerous DF-17s were proudly shown off in a military parade in Beijing.

In August 2018, China tested the hypersonic, nuclear-capable “Xingkong-2,” or “Starry Sky-2,” blasting it to space and showing off the launch on state television.

Unlike a ballistic missile Hypersonic Glide Vehicles are extremely manoeuvrable, allowing them to evade tracking and defences.

If they are launched into space and re-enter to hit a target there is even less time to react.

The People's Liberation Army believes hypersonic missiles like the DF-17 and Xingkong-2 will make obsolete US missile defence systems deployed in South Korea, Japan and Taiwan.

Meanwhile, the US risks becoming the third wheel in the hypersonic race as it also lags behind Russia.

missile – AP

According to Iain Boyd, an aerospace engineer at the University of Colorado: “It's a race to the moon sort of thing. National pride is at stake.”

Two weeks ago Russia successfully test-fired its hypersonic missile “Zircon” from a submerged nuclear submarine for the first time, using mock targets in the Barents Sea.

Zircon is capable of Mach 8 and could be fitted with a nuclear warhead to take out US aircraft carriers in minutes. The captain of a US carrier would have only seconds warning.

More advanced still is the Kremlin's pride and joy, the Avangard hypersonic missile, which has reached a staggering Mach 27.

On Boxing Day 2018 it was launched in the Ural Mountains, separated from its rocket in the stratosphere, and took a zig-zag course for nearly 4,000 miles east across Siberia, before hitting a target on the Kamchatka Peninsula.

The Avangard was brought into service in the Russian military the following year, effectively putting Russia in the lead in the hypersonic race.

The missile can carry a two-megaton nuclear warhead, enough to wipe out a city.

For Mr Putin, it was a “Sputnik moment” and it showed the West was “playing catch up.”

The Russian president said: “It heads to target like a meteorite. Like a fireball.”

Putin – Reuters

It is fair to say there is some paranoia at the Pentagon about America's current predicament.

Officials even recently entertained the possibility that UFO sightings over the US could be hypersonic Chinese or Russian drones.

In particular, the need to do something about China's hypersonic lead has been given huge urgency by the results of classified Pentagon war games set in 2030.

US officials believe the likeliest flashpoint for a Third World War is Taiwan, where a Chinese invasion would trigger an armed conflict between the world's two mightiest powers.

In a large scale war game last October the US found itself crushed.

According to General John Hyten, Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, US information systems were knocked out immediately, and its strategy of massing forces in one place then left them a sitting target for the Chinese.

ship – U.S Navy Office of Information

In a later simulation the US Air Force managed to narrowly secure victory for America, but only because the simulation included drone technology it doesn't actually have yet.

In 2018 Gen Hyten told Congress the US simply couldn't defend itself against hypersonic missiles.

He said: “We don’t have any defence that could deny the employment of such a weapon against us.”

After years of warnings from the Pentagon about the hypersonic danger, the US is now pouring over $1 billion a year into catching up.

It expects to have its own hypersonic weapons in the 2020s, and hypersonic drones in the 2030s.

In addition, it is prioritising a huge defensive measure, with a plan to put a a “mega-constellation” of potentially hundreds of satellites into space to monitor hypersonic missiles.

Last year, it gave out contracts, including $149 million to SpaceX, to start building satellites with wide field of view (WFOV) and overhead persistent infrared (OPIR) sensors.

SpaceX's bid to build them was described by government officials as “outstanding”.

The satellites will be in low Earth orbit, at 1,200 miles up, unlike other military satellites in geosynchronous orbit over 20,000 miles up.

This will allow them to pick up hypersonic missiles more easily. The tracking system is intended to cover the entire planet by the late 2020s.

Offensively, the US is testing of what it calls a HAWC missile (Hypersonic Air-breathing Weapon Concept).

A first major test of its own Hypersonic Glide Vehicle, the ARRW, ended in failure in April.


Earlier this year Admiral James Stavridis, the former Nato Supreme Allied Commander Europe, warned that the much vaunted US advantage in aircraft carriers would have become “antiquated” by 2030.

He said: “Autonomous technologies, such as low-cost swarms of air-and sea-based drones coupled with hypersonic missiles, could shift the balance of power on the oceans.”

Pentagon officials also believe that, by then, China will have doubled, and potentially quadrupled, its nuclear stockpile.

Some experts suggested China's growing hypersonic capability did not fundamentally change anything.

Jeffrey Lewis, a missile specialist at the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies in California, said: “China already has 100 nuclear-armed intercontinental ballistic missiles that can strike the US.

“Although the [hypersonic] glider is a nice touch.”

Internet Explorer Channel Network
Asia's Tech News Daily
News Related


Why we can't charge lithium-ion EV batteries in a few minutes

Extremely fast charging of our EVs would be a dream come true, right? Just imagine rolling up to a charger and juicing up your battery within mere five minutes, or ... Read more »

The start of a new era for Microsoft Teams is here

Microsoft has rolled out an update for Teams that will change the way many people collaborate with colleagues and perform their daily tasks on the platform. The update introduces functionality ... Read more »

The Game Awards has 'four or five' things as big as the Elden Ring reveal

This year’s The Game Awards will have a handful of big reveals on the scale of the Elden Ring reveal at Summer Game Fest, according to host and producer Geoff ... Read more »

How to make a League of Legends kids can play, according to Disney Melee Mania's developers

In the two years since Apple Arcade launched, it’s collected over two hundred family-friendly games that are lighthearted takes on gameplay genres that are usually pretty intense. Its next game, ... Read more »

How to upgrade your PS4, PS4 Slim and PS4 Pro hard drive

Are you tired of deleting games from your PS4 library? Then it may be time to upgrade your hard drive. Some games – we’re looking at you, Call of Duty ... Read more »

Help Santa Out By Shopping These Amazing Toy Deals at Target Right Now!

© Target/SheKnows Santa is a little busy right now, checking his list (twice!), supervising the elves at the North Pole, and planning his trip around the world in one night. ... Read more »

Omicron v Delta: How do variants compare on infectiousness and effect on Covid vaccines?

A woman receives her Covid-19 booster jab (Yui Mok/PA) (PA Wire) The emergence of the new coronavirus variant Omicron has already affected travel rules and seen a return to mandatory ... Read more »

New Matrix Resurrections trailer revives the past to deliver a new puzzling future

The Matrix Resurrections has received a new trailer ahead of its release later this month – and it looks absolutely stunning, even though it leaves us with more questions than ... Read more »

There's never been a worse time to own a Roku streaming stick

If you’ve recently bought yourself one of the best Roku streaming sticks – as many of you may have, during the Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales – then you ... Read more »

Donald Trump's new site wants to take on AWS as well as Facebook

The social media firm founded by former US President Donald Trump is looking to shake up large areas of the technology sector, it has claimed. As reported by the BBC, ... Read more »

F1 racer Daniel Ricciardo blasted over ‘ignorant' comments on anti-LGBT+ Saudi Arabia

Formula One racer Daniel Ricciardo has been criticised after admitting his “ignorance” amid backlash over Saudi Arabia’s LGBT+ and human rights record. Saudi Arabia hosted its first-ever Grand Prix on ... Read more »

Fortnite Chapter 3 adds a new map and Spider-Man content

Fortnite has received some major content with Chapter 3 – after a pretty spectacular chapter 2 finale – that brings a whole new map to the popular battle royale game. ... Read more »

Enloop review

Business planning tools come in various forms, and they’re typically recommended for both beginners and experienced entrepreneurs alike nowadays. If you’ve never used one before, it can take a while ... Read more »

Halo Infinite is thankfully getting more multiplayer modes before 2022

Even though Halo Infinite’s campaign lands on December 8 for Xbox Series X/S and PC, it looks like it won’t be the only piece of content keeping Halo fans occupied ... Read more » review

Formed in 1997, (also known as Namesco) has long been one of the top domain registrars in the UK. However, it also offers a whole variety of web hosting ... Read more »

Massive Amazon deals: Echo, Fire tablets, Kindle, Blink Mini, Fire TV stick, more

If you missed out on Black Friday, fear not. Amazon is offering massive deals right now on its best-selling devices, including the Echo Dot, Fire tablets, Kindle, Blink security cameras, ... Read more »

Could we store carbon in pools of brine underneath the seabed?

Ecological catastrophy It’s one of the more ambitious ideas in terms of dealing with carbon dioxide – burying it in pools of salty water beneath the seabed. Such an idea ... Read more »

The UK's policing bill will make climate activism almost illegal – just when it's most needed

The UK government has proposed some worrying amendments to its already draconian policing bill. The amendments will directly target environmental activists and are a response to direct action protests from ... Read more »

Vladimir Putin invites PM Modi to visit Russia in 2022

Russian President Vladimir Putin has invited Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi to visit Russia in 2022, according to a joint statement issued after they met on Monday. “President Putin thanked ... Read more »

Ukraine president hails military as Russia tensions soar

1 / 3Ukraine PresidentUkrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, right, awards a soldier in a trench as he visits the war-hit Donetsk region, eastern Ukraine, Monday, Dec. 6, 2021. (Ukrainian Presidential Press ... Read more »

Trump social-media venture under scrutiny by US regulators

The Associated PressFILE – In this July 24, 2021, file photo former President Donald Trump smiles as he pauses while speaking to supporters at a Turning Point Action gathering in ... Read more »

Jelena Vučković delivers 2021 Dresselhaus Lecture on inverse-designed photonics

Electrical engineer and Stanford University professor discusses how computer software can support advanced designs and new functionalities. Read more »

Zenit vs Chelsea: Prediction, kick off time, TV, live stream, team news, h2h results - Champions League

© ES Composite CLZenitChelsea21.jpg Chelsea travel to Russia to face Zenit in their final Champions League group stage match, with top spot still very much to play for. The Blues ... Read more »

Bitcoin 'flash crash' sees long positions worth $2bn closed by exchanges

The world's largest cryptocurrency licks its wounds following another plunge downwards during which it lost more than a fifth of its value at one stage. Read more »

Generating a realistic 3D world

A new AI-powered, virtual platform uses real-world physics to simulate a rich and interactive audio-visual environment, enabling human and robotic learning, training, and experimental studies. Read more »

Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse Part 1 trailer – 8 things you may have missed

Potential spoilers follow for Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse Part 1. It’ll be time to return to the Spider-Verse soon. And no, we’re not just talking about Spider-Man: No Way Home. ... Read more »

What we know about Biden's Alliance for the Future of the Internet

A new frontier in the battle for the web may emerge this week. At a virtual “Summit for Democracy” hosted by President Joe Biden, the White House is expected to ... Read more »

This could be the world's first DDR5 laptop, but you'd never guess who built it

Embattled Chinese manufacturer Huawei is not giving up on laptops – at least not yet. Although the company’s MateBook X Pro, MateBook 14 and MateBook D15 were amongst the more ... Read more »

It looks like we really are getting Nvidia RTX 3000 Ti GPUs for laptops at CES 2022

Recently, we’ve been seeing rumors about refreshed mobile GPUs from Nvidia that will be based on its latest high-end graphics cards like the RTX 3070 Ti and RTX 3080 Ti. ... Read more »

COVID-19 cases are back on the rise in the US, with more than 100,000 new cases per day

member of the medical team holds up a used swab from a PCR test at Gatwick Airport on November 27, 2020 in London, England.Leon Neal/Getty Images New COVID-19 cases have ... Read more »

Apple's headset may come with these specialties

The rumoured Apple AR headset was claimed to have “interchangeable lenses” and a “complex, expensive-to-build” design, by Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman earlier. Now, he has more to say on the AR/VR ... Read more »

10 Google search tricks to help you find what you're looking for

How often do you turn to Google? Every day? Multiple times a day? If you’re focused on privacy, there are better options. Tap or click for alternatives to Google that ... Read more »

Molly Russell coroner challenges social media firms to help make internet safer

The coroner overseeing the inquest of schoolgirl Molly Russell has challenged social media companies to help “make the internet a safer place”. Andrew Walker made the remark during a hearing ... Read more »

Supermarket SPAR forced to close stores due to cyber attack

Image: SPAR has been forced to close stores following a cyber attack,. Pic: Reuters The supermarket chain SPAR has been forced to close a number of stores following a cyber ... Read more »

WhatsApp launches incubator program for organisations to build healthcare solutions

WhatsApp on Monday announced an incubator program to support organisations in building digital solutions to tackle pressing healthcare issues. The ‘WhatsApp Incubator Program‘ aims to facilitate positive and measurable health ... Read more »

Citi announces grants for Indian startups: Key details

American lender Citi on Monday said it will be giving a grant to Indian startups for scaling up activities having a positive societal impact in the agriculture, healthcare and financial ... Read more »

Chewing gum to cut Covid-19 transmission under development: Report

Scientists are developing a chewing gum laced with a plant-grown protein that serves as a “trap” for the SARS-CoV-2 virus, which causes COVID-19, reducing viral load in saliva and potentially ... Read more »

Walmart's new Nintendo Switch bundle is now available – but it won't last long

Black Friday and Cyber Monday may have come and gone, but a new Nintendo Switch bundle is now available at Walmart that includes a 12-month subscription to Nintendo Switch Online ... Read more »

Floods are going to get worse: we need to start preparing for them now

Floods across the world this year cost hundreds of lives and millions of pounds in damages. Brian Norcross/FreeImagesLive, CC BY-SA For many, 2021 was the year of the flood. From ... Read more »

Biden and Putin head into Ukraine talks with scant room for compromise

1 / 2Biden and Putin head into Ukraine talks with scant room for compromiseUS-Russia summit in Geneva By Tom Balmforth and Trevor Hunnicutt MOSCOW/WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Presidents Joe Biden and ... Read more »
On you will find lots of free English exam practice materials to help you improve your English skills: grammar, listening, reading, writing, ielts, toeic