The Chinese military has begun testing its new DF-17 ICBM which is equipped with a hypersonic warhead, making it nearly impervious to existing U.S. missile defense systems.
China recently conducted two tests of a new missile, according to U.S. intelligence sources familiar with them.
The first test took place on November 1 and the second test took place on November 15.
During the Nov. 1 test, which occurred at the Jiuquan Space Launcher Center in Inner Mongolia, the missile’s payload flew approximately 870 miles, with the hypersonic warhead flying at a height of about 37 miles after reentry phases.
“HGVs begin powered flight after separating from their ballistic missile boosters, which follow a standard ballistic trajectory to give the payload vehicle sufficient altitude,” noted one report.
The U.S. intelligence community assessed that the DF-17 is an intermediate-range system of between 1,100-1,550 miles. Analysts also believe the missile is capable of carrying conventional or nuclear payloads.
“The missile is explicitly designed for operational HGV implementation and not as a test bed,” the source said, describing U.S. intelligence assessments of the DF-17. This was “the first HGV test in the world using a system intended to be fielded operationally,” the source added. [source]
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