back to article China's hypersonic glider didn't just orbit Earth, it 'fired a missile' while at Mach 5

A Chinese hypersonic glider that completed a test flight in July appears to be more sophisticated than first thought. It is reported the aircraft was able to fire a missile while travelling at five times the speed of sound. The glider was launched atop a Long March 2C rocket, and completed at least one orbit of our planet …

  1. Jim Mitchell

    “We are not at all interested in having an arms race with other countries,” said Liu Pengyu, an embassy spokesperson.

    Of course, the best arms race is one nobody else wants to show up to because they know they'll get trounced so no race is actually held and you win by default.

    1. Snowy Silver badge
      Coat

      Best way to win a race.

      Be the only one running the race.

      1. NoneSuch Silver badge
        FAIL

        Re: Best way to win a race.

        “The US has in recent years been fabricating excuses like ‘the China threat’ to justify its arms expansion and development of hypersonic weapons.”

        Illegal occupation and fortification of Spratly Islands, threats against Taiwan and invading Tibet does not count in their minds I guess.

        The CCP needs to go.

        1. ICL1900-G3 Bronze badge

          Re: Best way to win a race.

          They almost make the Russians look like good guys. Almost.

          1. ShadowDragon8685

            Re: Best way to win a race.

            If the Russians and the PRC got into it with one another, the best thing the rest of us could do would be to sell them both bullets and conventional weapon systems until they ran out of manpower and had exhausted their economies. Sell China an absolute smeg-load of materiel in the spring so they rally and invade in the summer, let the inevitable bogging-down happen in summer and get them good and stuck in, and then sell an absolute crapton to Russia in autumn as winter is approaching; you know what happens to invaders in Russia in winter.

            Then when spring starts to turn up, sell a mess to China again.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Best way to win a race.

          I'm not sure a comparison of places invaded by the US and those invaded by China over the last century or two is a discussion you want to get into.

          1. Version 1.0 Silver badge

            Re: Best way to win a race.

            Sure, but the US always pushes their military in and have always had to "retire" after 10-20 years, while China normally just works in the commercial fields and keeps running.

            China is a country that's been around for about 3,000 years now, America has only been a country for 300 years - to be fair, both "countries" took over from the previous inhabitants of the lands.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              @Version 1.0 Re: Best way to win a race.

              So what kind of occupation you'd prefer ? One that starves you with economic sanctions and then bombs you thoroughly (step 3 should be building democracy and bringing in prosperity but we'll skip that) or the one in the commercial field as you call it ? Just try answer this from the perspective of a regular citizen with no involvement in politics, preoccupied only by making a decent living.

              As for what happened 3000 years ago, I am really interested to know what local populations were pushed over the cliff by invaders of mainland China. Expansion on the other hand, we all know to well it's a common practice.

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: @Version 1.0 Best way to win a race.

                And I’m pretty sure the murderous rise of the CCCP and then it’s cycles of murder and violence against the people it claims to represent, is not a conversation YOU want to get into Shill.

                We don’t trust the CCCP’s moves to dominate the world because we know what it’s done to its “own people”.

                Apologists for those animals always like to play the false equivalence game, because it’s the only meagre come back they have.

                1. 2+2=5 Silver badge
                  Headmaster

                  Re: @Version 1.0 Best way to win a race.

                  > We don’t trust the CCCP’s moves to dominate the world because we know what it’s done to its “own people”

                  I'm very confused. The Союз Советских Социалистических Республик (CCCP) or Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) - ceased to exist in 1991 and any plans it had to dominate the world were abandoned long before then.

                  1. Radio Wales
                    Devil

                    Re: @Version 1.0 Best way to win a race.

                    They meant CCP Chinese Communist Party

                    And either had a sticky key or became over-excited.

              2. Version 1.0 Silver badge

                Re: @Version 1.0 Best way to win a race.

                We all have "opinions" abut the world today but in the future I think that the human race (if it survives) will look back at the world in today's times and see that almost all the countries are essentially just run be rich folk busy making themselves wealthy - I don't see China as any worse then America ... I think they both act like crap ... neither country appears to care about their effects on the worlds climate changes.

    2. Persona Silver badge

      Given that US military spending is double that of China and Russia combined getting into a race would be very expensive.

      1. Joe Burmeister

        Hold on though, how much does engineering cost relative to money spent? Bet R&D in the US is a lot more expensive, so the money doesn't go as far.

        1. ThatOne Silver badge

          > R&D in the US is a lot more expensive

          Actually it costs about the same, but what increases the cost tremendously in the USA are the associated pork barrels and the eternal turf wars. Do the Army, Navy, Air force really need to have three different, competing R&D projects? What about the Coast Guard, why don't they get to play too?...

          So, when another country says "we need to do this, let's get it done", the USA says "we need to do this, let's see now who gets chosen to profit from that".

          1. Arthur the cat Silver badge

            What about the Coast Guard, why don't they get to play too?...

            Don't forget there's the Space Force now as well.

            Why have three competing projects when you can have five?

          2. Peter2 Silver badge

            R&D in the US is a lot more expensive

            Actually it costs about the same

            It appears intuitively obvious that an American scientist is likely to be paid more than a Chinese one, and that materials required for an experiment will be more expensive in the US than in China which means that running the same experiment in both countries will mean that it is more expensive in the US.

            1. ThatOne Silver badge

              > an American scientist is likely to be paid more

              Scientists aren't an important part of the cost (public sector scientists get paid peanuts), it's the labs, instruments and experiments which make up most of the expenses, and those things cost about the same everywhere. Materials might be cheaper in China, but to process those raw materials you need expensive, sophisticated machinery which would cost about the same to both. There might be a cost difference, but it's definitely measured in fractions, not multiples.

              1. Peter2 Silver badge

                Scientists aren't an important part of the cost (public sector scientists get paid peanuts), it's the labs, instruments and experiments which make up most of the expenses

                They build a new lab and buy a new set of instruments every time they run an experiment?

                1. ThatOne Silver badge

                  > They build a new lab and buy a new set of instruments every time they run an experiment?

                  Just as much as the Americans do, so I guess your point is irrelevant to the initial question of compared expenses, isn't it?

                  Now if you're just criticizing my point about cheap labor not making a big difference in cutting edge science, in this specific case I guess experiments are the most expensive part, and I'm pretty sure labor costs don't make an important (or any, actually) part of that. You'll have to take my word for it (or not, as you like).

      2. Version 1.0 Silver badge

        FTFY

        Given that US military spending is double that of China and Russia combined getting into a race would be very profitable.

      3. NonSSL-Login

        The USA put most of its eggs and budget in to the spy on everyone's internet and cyber warfare and probably will continue to do so because of the economic advantages industrial espionage gives its businesses and keeping the rich wealthy.

        Rather than divert funds they will ask for more to power a new arm of the industrial military complex.

      4. Mark Dempster

        However the US seems to be a long way behind...

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    There is a school of thought, that the cold war arms race was won by germany, japan, korea, and others who didn't piss their wealth away on nuclear missiles they couldn't actually use.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      It's always nicer to be a non-combatant. And neutral. And not a threat to anyone. Just ask the Belgians.

      1. Mast1

        "Belgium: where the British army plays its away matches". Quote by Jeremy Clarkson (for the left-ponders, a petrol-head reporter with opinions on almost everything).

        1. Wellyboot Silver badge
          Holmes

          Avoiding a home match is prudent, ask any country that's hosted one.

      2. ThatOne Silver badge
        Devil

        > It's always nicer to be a non-combatant. And neutral. And not a threat to anyone. Just ask the Belgians.

        It's because you forgot the most important condition: Be out of the way and more profitable alive than dead. Ask the Swiss.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Or the Irish.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        @AC - You get to be neutral

        only if all interested parties will allow it.

      4. Justthefacts Silver badge

        Which Belgians would that be?

        King Leopold of Belgium?

        Estimates range upwards from 10 million Congolese dead, 1884-1909. Easily the most brutal and murderous dictator the world had ever seen, until Stalin broke his record.

        I’ve never understood how Europe has managed to write what he did out of history, so thoroughly. Well, I think I do actually. We all know why.

    2. tip pc Silver badge

      “ who didn't piss their wealth away on nuclear missiles they couldn't actually use”

      Considering the speak Russian in Russia & American in America etc etc I’d counter that those missies where used to great effect.

      The fact they where never fired in anger doesn’t mean they where not used or did not do their job.

      Imagine a visible security system to stop theft if something, the fact the thing it protected didn’t get stolen is proof the system worked despite it perhaps never ever being tried by potential thieves.

  3. Norman123

    Is it budget time again, already?

  4. Adam Inistrator

    a limitation of hypersonics

    While hypersonic they are deaf, dumb and blind due to the speed induced plasma around them. Think space shuttle during re-entry. They can arrive in the area quickly which, for mobile targets like ships, considerably assists in targeting, but they would need to slow down before being able to find or receive the final targeting. Then they would be vulnerable to existing anti-missile technology. Not exactly the "carrier killer" bragged about or feared.

    1. Zolko Silver badge

      Re: a limitation of hypersonics

      they would need to slow down before being able to find or receive the final targeting

      I think you're lacking imagination here: what if it didn't need any final targeting ? A 1 ton pointy object hitting an aircraft carrier at Mach 5 would certainly cause some damage. And they aren't very mobile to do some last-minute out-maneuvering of said pointy object.

      What the pointy object still would need is an optical imaging device to confirm the final location of the sitting-duck target. Whether that is possible at Mach 5, I don't know.

      1. Death_Ninja

        Re: a limitation of hypersonics

        The time for a warhead from an ICBM to reach its target after seperation is less an a minute and thats at 2000mph - which is less than half the speed of a hypersonic. Most of the ~30 min flight time of an ICBM is mid course, the warhead reentry is the shortest of the 3 phases.

        In space you won't be getting the plasma effect, meaning you can do all of your terminal guidance perfectly ok before the firey plunge.

        How far can a ship move in say 15 seconds and is it predictable?

        I'd say given the short amount of time and the slow speed of a ship, its entirely possible to hit it without needing to make adjustments during the atmosphere stage.

        1. ewan 3

          Why does minecraft need a beefy computer?

          Point of correction. ICBM warheads are certainly hypersonic vehicles and faster than any glider - circa 6-8 km per second (23 times the speed of sound).

          The advantage of a glider is that it can potentially do more extreme maneuvers meaning it's difficult to shoot down.

          A FOBS is just a logical reaction to missile defence - the Soviets removed theirs once the US signed missile defence treaties.

          1. HobartTas

            Re: Why does minecraft need a beefy computer?

            The wikipedia article on ballistic missiles states that warheads re-enter the atmosphere at about "6-8 km per second" but as I understand it air resistance is proportional to the square of the speed being traveled so I presume when they detonate on the ground or several kilometers above the ground they would be going considerably slower at that stage.

            As far as "extreme maneuvers" go you would only do that if you had a range of targets close together so that they couldn't work out what the eventual target is and you couldn't do too many of these maneuvers either because that's an extremely efficient way of bleeding off speed which is something an attacking weapon doesn't exactly want.

            1. Wellyboot Silver badge

              Re: Why does minecraft need a beefy computer?

              One or two maneuvers at extreme altitude would be plenty, the intercept window is quite short given that a nuke detonating several miles up will kill all shipboard sensors for long enough that a follow on wave incoming gets a free pass.

      2. Adam Inistrator

        Re: a limitation of hypersonics

        Said object cant see at hypersonic speeds. That is the whole point. And a miss is as good as a mile unless nuclear which is a different game. Carriers will have moved many miles in unpredictable directions during even a hypersonic flight time. They are not at all fixed objects. If hypersonic was an advantage then existing rockets could easily achieve it. But they dont, presumably because of the final targeting requirement. Hypersonics advantage is arriving in the area quickly, and at relatively low altitude compared to ex atmosphere ballistics, so detection time is far later. Their weakness is in the targeting stage. Everybody is flapping around assuming that they are just faster versions of existing tech, which isnt true.

    2. bazza Silver badge

      Re: a limitation of hypersonics

      Shuttle had live comms during reentry, upwards. Apollo didn't because there weren't any satellites to communicate with during their reentry.

      1. Lord Elpuss Silver badge

        Re: a limitation of hypersonics

        Really?! That's amazing. I had no idea ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

    3. HobartTas

      Re: a limitation of hypersonics

      Anti missile technology? The last time I read anything about this topic a couple of years ago then I understood that the USA had done up to that point in time something like ten tests where they had fired off a missile to intercept another missile warhead and they were successful in about half of those cases.

      As we all know with military weapons they use things like camouflage and radar absorbing paints as well as active countermeasures to stop getting intercepted by the other side so when I read further that some of the target warheads had an "active transponder" then that sure didn't inspire any confidence in me at all.

      1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        Re: a limitation of hypersonics

        "Anti missile technology? The last time I read anything about this topic a couple of years ago then I understood that the USA had done up to that point in time something like ten tests where they had fired off a missile to intercept another missile warhead and they were successful in about half of those cases."

        Anti-missile tech got a decent real world workout while Iraq occupied Kuwait and started launching Scuds and other missiles at various neighbours. I'm sure both side got a good idea of effective or ineffective the systems were at that time.

        1. Lord Elpuss Silver badge

          Re: a limitation of hypersonics

          Yeah but to be fair, shooting down a Scud is a completely different proposition to shooting down anything travelling at hypersonic velocities.

        2. Mark Dempster

          Re: a limitation of hypersonics

          Scuds were basically copies of the WW2 V2 rockets; there is NO comparison with ICBMs.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: a limitation of hypersonics

      If armed with small scale nuclear weapons, one is enough.

      If not so armed, an aircraft carrier cannot defend against N missiles arriving simultaneously.

      A US aircraft carrier costs 10+ billion dollars.

      They can probably be sunk by 20 maneuverable missiles, costing 20 million dollars each, arriving in a swarm.

      1. Adam Inistrator

        Re: a limitation of hypersonics

        Hypersonics are scarcely maneuverable and even if they were, they are dead, dumb and blind while hypersonic. That is the point.

      2. ragnar

        Re: a limitation of hypersonics

        You might be surprised. It took 4 weeks of weapon testing to sink CV-66, and they eventually had to board her to plant explosives to finish the job. They're extremely difficult to sink compared to battleships.

  5. EricB123 Bronze badge

    Money Can't Buy Everything

    Even though the US spends far more than China. Of course, a lot of the money is to buy things like HaloLens, useless tanks and multi billion dollar F-35s that almost work.

    1. FILE_ID.DIZ
      Trollface

      Re: Money Can't Buy Everything

      Don't forget the railgun.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Money Can't Buy Everything

        Oh, and maintaining 30000 nuclear warheads. Detail, I know, but maybe worth mentioning?

        1. TheMole

          Re: Money Can't Buy Everything

          30,000 ?

          According to https://www.armscontrol.org/factsheets/Nuclearweaponswhohaswhat, the entire world has less than 15,000 and of those over 3,000 are decommissioned awaiting dismantling.

      2. EricB123 Bronze badge

        Re: Money Can't Buy Everything

        Hey, I made a railgun when I was a kid. The paper clip that it shot didn't exactly reach supersonic speed, but it did work.

        1. cyberdemon Silver badge
          Headmaster

          Re: Money Can't Buy Everything

          That was probably a coil gun, which I also built as a kid. It can only fire a ferromagnetic (iron/steel) projectile. Mine shot a nail, at a similar subsonic speed to your paperclip.

          A railgun works on a DC linear motor principle, whereby a large current passes through the projectile between the rails, and generates a magnetic field in opposition to the magnetic fields generated by the rails themselves. It operates at millions of Amps, and any paperclip would turn to plasma before it even starts moving.

          Actually I think that is one of the main problems with railguns - the need to clean off the remains of projectiles that have sputtered themselves onto every surface on the inside of the weapon.

  6. Fred Dibnah

    My attitude to any information about China coming from the USA’s military, and vice versa, is to read it with a bucketful of salt.

    1. alain williams Silver badge

      All governments lie

      but I trust some less than others.

      China is near the bottom of trustability IMHO. Look at what is happening to that lady tennis player, I suspect that she has been told that her friends/relations will get harmed if she does not say that she is not under pressure. Her social media accounts are still dead, what we hear from her seems stage managed.

  7. jonathan keith

    History Repeating

    https://youtu.be/1dSkX9VySOI?t=28

    1. Uncle Slacky Silver badge
      Mushroom

      Re: History Repeating

      I thought that link was going to be this: https://youtu.be/kuPh6TfK4iY?t=92

      "Mr President, we must not allow a hypersonic gap!"

      (relevant icon)

  8. Pascal Monett Silver badge

    “We have catching up to do very quickly,"

    That is code for "The pork barrel is over here ! Come and get it !".

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    This development is concerning to us as it should be to all who seek peace and stability

    you call it 'stability', they call it 'American world order', otherwise known as do as I say, don't do as I do.

    1. SundogUK Silver badge

      Re: This development is concerning to us as it should be to all who seek peace and stability

      The Americans aren't rounding people up and sticking them in camps like the Uyghur's, so I'm fine with US 'stability.'

      1. werdsmith Silver badge

        Re: This development is concerning to us as it should be to all who seek peace and stability

        Not camps in mainland USA anyway. Bits of Cuba maybe.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: This development is concerning to us as it should be to all who seek peace and stability

          The USA probably has a lot less people in detention in Gitmo than Cuba has in similar conditions in Cuba.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            @AC - Re: This development is concerning to us as it should be to all who seek peace and stability

            Yeah but they are entirely innocent and are being held there because otherwise somebody will be embarrassed. Remind me please how many terrorists have come out of that camp, even after the torture they endured ?

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: This development is concerning to us as it should be to all who seek peace and stability

        That's coz they do it in other people's countries e.g. gitmo....

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Fired a missile that fell into the ocean

    Or maybe something just broke off? At Mach 5 they may look fairly similar on a radar trace.

    1. Flywheel Silver badge

      Re: Fired a missile that fell into the ocean

      Ah, that'll be a feature, not a bug...

      1. Brewster's Angle Grinder Silver badge

        Re: Fired a missile that fell into the ocean

        I think the OPs point was it might be a bug, not a feature.

    2. Mast1

      Re: Fired a missile that fell into the ocean

      Ah, the red-hot poker as-a-weapon trick. Dates back to at least Edward II in 1327, allegedly.

      https://thehistoryvault.co.uk/the-mystery-of-edward-iis-death/

      1. Arthur the cat Silver badge

        Re: Fired a missile that fell into the ocean

        Dates back to at least Edward II in 1327, allegedly.

        Getting that level of accuracy after re-entering from orbit would be impressive.

        1. Wellyboot Silver badge
          Happy

          Re: Fired a missile that fell into the ocean

          Sadly I can give but one upvote for that :)

    3. batfink Silver badge

      Re: Fired a missile that fell into the ocean

      Testing a decoy launch maybe???

    4. toejam++

      Re: Fired a missile that fell into the ocean

      Or perhaps China has finally joined North Korea's war against Poseidon.

  11. ItWasn'tMe
    Trollface

    Load of hype if you ask me...

  12. GruntyMcPugh

    "The US Army, Navy, and Air Force all have programs"

    Maybe they'd make faster progress if they had one program.

    1. ThatOne Silver badge

      True, but this allows for three times more pork barrels!

  13. DJO Silver badge

    The Long March 5C is not particularly compact, it needs a launch site, it's not something that can be silo launched so either they intend to design a new rocket specifically for the hypersonic weapon or this is willy waving of the highest order.

    Unless they can launch dozens of them in one go it's next to useless as a first strike weapon. This is where ICBMs have an advantage, you can launch thousands of decoys to mask the few hundred real ones. Doubly so with MIRV warheads, that's the way to do a first strike.

    Would work as a capital ship killer but there are already plenty of conventional missiles which do a better job by flying under the radar.

    Possibly more of a propaganda weapon than a military weapon.

    1. Death_Ninja

      Capital ship killer

      "Would work as a capital ship killer but there are already plenty of conventional missiles which do a better job by flying under the radar"

      Yes but what if your target was 2000 miles away?

      The point of this sort of weapon is unlimited range, unpredictable attack vectors and combined with impossible counter measures.

      It makes the main weapon of US force projection (the carrier battle group) vulnerable anywhere in the world at any time, whereas today once at sea its largely invulnerable to even saturation attacks.

      1. ThatOne Silver badge

        Re: Capital ship killer

        > what if your target was 2000 miles away?

        I suspect no carrier group is ever more than a couple hundred miles from the nearest "unfriendly" attack submarine lurking below...

        I mean what's the point of stealthy attack submarines if not to shadow enemy carrier groups in case they need some quick sinking? Of course the carrier group has its own submarines and anti-sub defenses, but one missile/torpedo/whatever is all it takes to transform a mighty carrier group into a random gathering of ships, it's definitely worth a try.

    2. Peter2 Silver badge

      The purpose of the trident missile armed submarines is precisely to make nuking the host country pointless; because the weapons are anonymously hidden at sea. This reduces the point of a first strike to zero as the submarines might be a bit put out at the country that's nuked them.

      As the Trident can be tossed at a target over 7500 miles away unless you can be certain that you can find all of the subs then it could prove expensive; each sub can each fire up to 24 missiles, each of which might be carrying up to 8 warheads. So missing a single nuclear missile submarine could mean that 192 atomic fireballs might brighten up the day of the country that started playing with them.

      Any rational person can see it's idiotic, which is simultaneously why nobody has ever been inclined to press the button and why people are worried about religious fruitcakes obtaining nukes as some of them might think that God will protect them from retaliation, upsetting the rational basis of deterrence.

    3. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      "or this is willy waving of the highest order."

      Or it's actually the early stages of a re-usable space plane project.

  14. TeeCee Gold badge

    Fine for now.

    But the perceived capability gap is due to an elephant in the room.

    The US is working on self powered hydrogen scramjet hypersonic vehicles, If and when they get those working, gliders become obsolete overnight. Powered hypersonic vehicles don't have that tell-tale ballistic missile launch to start them off.

    What we have here is basically a MIRV warhead with better steering and reentry options.

  15. iron Silver badge

    "That's what those weapons look like to me."

    Of course when you're a four star general of the atomic power with the second most warheads in the world, everything looks like a nuke to you.

  16. batfink Silver badge

    Time to panic!

    Well, when I say "panic" I mean "give us more money".

    Saying "we're falling behind" is a bit rich when you look at the relative nuclear strengths: https://www.statista.com/statistics/264435/number-of-nuclear-warheads-worldwide/. Of course #warheads <> #delivery systems, but even so. Other posters have also spoken about relative spending. It is true that China's navy is catching up on the US in number of hulls, but overall tonnage is a lot lower, and there's not much sign (yet, tbf) of a serious blue-water capability.

    What would spark some serious pork-barrelling US defence spending would be the sight of some Chinese warships conducting freedom of navigation exercises off the California coast...

    1. Wellyboot Silver badge

      Re: Time to panic!

      If followed by the Panama Canal, English Channel, Black Sea & Suez before going home via the Singapore strait, that would indeed prove them to be in the small* group of global capable navies.

      The Chinese are playing a long game, having built a defensive navy with a hull count to match the USN they are now stepping up through carrier designs (They've an awful lot to learn).

      * The Royal Navy can do that trip with a CBG & the USN can do all at once with CBGs to spare.

  17. LordHighFixer
    Boffin

    Guess they missed this...

    Seems physics wins again...

    https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/the-physics-and-hype-of-hypersonic-weapons/

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    https://giphy.com/gifs/matthew-broderick-war-games-fuck-yeah-the-80s-Q3Li1BpwTpTfq/fullscreen

  19. wub
    Happy

    Anybody remember the USS Connecticut running aground?

    I was thinking about the missile parts that fell into the South China sea, and remembered that a US Navy submarine had run aground there about a month and a half ago: https://news.usni.org/2021/11/01/investigation-concludes-uss-connecticut-grounded-on-uncharted-sea-mount-in-south-china-sea.

    Since I don't have enough information, it's really easy to just connect the dots and suspect they might have been searching for the missing missile. I know there are lots of better explanations for what they might have been doing, but this one is much more fun...

  20. HAL-9000
    Terminator

    Kerching

    I dare say the 'Industrial Military Complex', spoken about by Dwight D Eisenhower, will welcome this return of the red peril with open arms. For some this will, no doubt, become a very lucrative period in their professional careers too.

    1. Uncle Slacky Silver badge
      Headmaster

      Re: Kerching

      ITYM "Yellow Peril", shirley?

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yellow_Peril

      1. HAL-9000

        Re: Kerching

        I was avoiding accusations of using possible racial epithets ;) , but yes red peril is a thing too

        Link

  21. Kev99 Silver badge

    Wouldn't it be cheaper, easier and faster to just update the Nike-B which could hit 8K mph (Mach 10) in the late 1950s. Three companies are competing to reinvent the wheel.

    1. Wellyboot Silver badge

      You're not quite getting the 'Pork Barrel' idea are you?

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    NASA reached Mach 10 plus a long time ago. No video of this announcement just commie bullshit meter on overdrive.

    Deploying payloads at these speeds- difficult and dangerous- I won't go into further detail.

  23. Bobo

    the real technology of the future

    Sure.. that all looks 'High Tech'.. but any 'truly developed inclusive country would know' MATH is racist! So the Current Biden Administration is really doubling-down and making TRUE advances in the edgy field of "Gender Technologies".. What good will 'hypersonic missiles' be when we have discovered over 30 new genders and pronouns!! Can you imagine??

    The return to the Moon, and timeline for a Mars landing have been permanently cancel in favor of the Babbling Biden Build Back Better Big Busting Budget Bonanza... which doesn't actually build anything at all.. but promises "free child care for single welfare mothers that are unwilling to work but want free time, and nice things too" - free college for feminist dance theory majors" and Taxpayer funded "gender-confirmation" surgeries for all primary school students.. Who needs Aliens when we can build them here!! Babbling Biden.s secret strategy is to make the country a place no one want to invade... how can you beat that?

    1. batfink Silver badge

      Re: the real technology of the future

      Is that you Bob?

  24. Potemkine! Silver badge

    MAD makes a war between China and US impossible unless both (with the entire World) wants to be fully destroyed.

    This new weapon race is a huge waste of money, at the expense of the ones in need.

    Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed. This world in arms is not spending money alone.

    It is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children.|...]

    This is not a way of life at all, in any true sense. Under the cloud of threatening war, it is humanity hanging from a cross of iron.

  25. Anonymous South African Coward Silver badge

    Operation Up Escalator upshifted several gears, and got an upgrade to tackle the slippery downgrade to destruction

    Money spent on the arms race is just wasted...

  26. Conundrum1885

    Sports Model

    Well you have to admire the technical skill to launch a missile from a Mach 5 craft.

    To give people an idea of scale, thats .3 of a Mach number higher than the SR-71 unclassified top speed.

    That said, no doubt the US have technology that is capable of much more.

    Depends if the US have technical skills derived from "other folks" or not, some have said that the US has

    anti-gravity technology but the physicists say this is well beyond us at present considering that if it is a fifth

    force interaction then at the moment we have only barely nudged the handle on that particular door.

    As it happens I've done some research in this area and it looks like antimatter is to some extent part

    of the answer, though an incomplete one.

    Zero point interactions in the Dirac field may lead somewhere but without a working theory of quantum gravity its

    likely that we will simply find it won't work at a useful level that can be measured in the laboratory, let

    alone something that can levitate a craft.

    I did have some success with an early version of a spark gap Tesla Coil with a complex interacting field, but all it could do

    is knock over a radio and only when overdriven to the point the CCFL circuits nearly melted down.

    Another experiment yielded a window material that showed clear resistance drops above room temperature.

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