Saturday, January 25, 2014
Arms Race Update - China Goes All Hyper
There's a dangerous tendency in the West to take a condescending view of Chinese technology. We tend to think of it as it was twenty or thirty years ago - rudimentary, crude, unreliable. That was before the Chinese got the hang of capitalism and Western industrialism and they've been catching up fast ever since.
How far the Chinese have come was demonstrated earlier this month when its military tested a hypersonic glide vehicle (HGV) capable of maneuvering at speeds upwards of Mach 10. Fired atop an ICBM, an HGV warhead can give the most sophisticated missile defence systems absolute fits.
A conventional warhead follows a ballistic arc which makes its path pretty easy to predict which makes it relatively easy to intercept and destroy. An HGV is fast but it's also maneuverable which means it's not predictable which makes it very difficult to intercept and destroy. China has now joined the U.S. and Russia in the exclusive, hypersonic club.
Commander of U.S. forces in the Pacific, Admiral Sam Locklear, noted that China has been able to make breathtaking advances in military technology, observing, "They have different processes that allow them to get to it faster."
Yes, Admiral Sam, they do indeed.