A hypersonic missile system tested by China in the summer apparently fired a projectile itself during the flight. This is an undertaking that “pushes the boundaries of physics” and which presumably no other country is capable of, wrote the Wall Street Journal. The “Financial Times” also reported on the projectile fired during the test. US military experts would try to understand how this could be technically possible.

China launched a rocket in July that orbited the earth in low orbit and then launched a hypersonic glider, the Wall Street Journal reported on Monday, citing US officials. This glider then fired a projectile at five times the speed of sound. According to the report, it is unclear what the purpose of the projectile fired by the hypersonic glider is. It could therefore be used to confuse missile defense systems – or to attack a target yourself.

The US expressed concern over a similar Chinese supersonic missile test in October. The Chief of Staff of the US Armed Forces, Mark Milley, drew a comparison with the so-called Sputnik shock of 1957 – the completely surprising first flight of a Soviet Sputnik satellite through earth orbit for the West.

Beijing then denied reports of a supersonic missile test. It was a routine test for “reusable space technology,” said a spokesman for the Chinese Foreign Ministry.

The USA, Russia, North Korea and at least four other countries are also working on hypersonic rocket technology. Like ballistic missiles, hypersonic missiles can carry nuclear weapons. However, while ballistic missiles fly in a high arc, hypersonic missiles remain in low orbit. They are also remotely controlled and can change their trajectory, which makes launching missile defense systems much more difficult.

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