China’s new DF-17 ICBM will be equipped with hypersonic glide vehicle

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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Jon E. Dougherty is a political, foreign policy and national security analyst and reporter with nearly 30 years of experience in both fields. A U.S. Army veteran of Operation Enduring Freedom, he holds BA in Political Science from Ashford University and an MA in National Security Studies/Intelligence Analysis from American Military University.

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