Hypersonic Flight Tests
China's development of hypersonic vehicles was proposed by Qian Xuesen. In the early days, it was only a preliminary theoretical study. After 2000, because of the need to break through the US anti-missile system, domestic efforts to focus on land-based anti-missile systems and hypersonic vehicles were achieved, with fruitful results. There are two genres of hypersonic aircraft: one is a glide-boost, meaning the aircraft is propelled into the sky via a rocket and glides in the air using shock waves generated by its own hypersonic flight, while the other is air-breathing, meaning the aircraft uses a scramjet engine to provide thrust. The DF-17 is said to be a glide-boost vehicle, but it is not known what type the Xingkong-2 might be, other than it could be different from the DF-17, although it was also propelled by a rocket.
WU-14 Flight Tests
In December 2010, the commander of the U.S. Pacific Command, Admiral Robert Willard, announced that China’s Dongfeng-21D (DF-21D/CSS-5) ASBM had reached initial operational capacity, suggesting a rapid advancement in China’s command of missile and guidance technology over the past decade. Chief of Naval Operations Admiral Gary Roughead stated in a January 14, 2011, interview that “[i]t would not surprise me that in the next couple of years that the capability will be in play.”
Amy Chang wrote in April 2012 that "China has tested the DF-21D missile system over land but not over water against maneuvering targets. Nevertheless, China has extensively researched terminal guidance technologies, possibly to include the guidance employed by the U.S. Pershing II theater ballistic missile with a maneuverable reentry vehicle."
The first test carried out by China’s People’s Liberation Army on 05 January 2014, was successful according to the National Defense Ministry. The United States is the only other nation developing a similar technology.
In 2014, China began testing the hypersonic vehicle (WU-14), which would be tested more than 7 times by 2018. Of course, these are publicly reported after the US satellite and radar tracking. The name WU-14 is also from the United States, which has never been confirmed in China. According to China’s current news censorship system, weapons testing, especially ballistic missile defense and hypersonic aircraft, are top-secret experiments. The WU-14 has tested many times, but the public has not seen the its appearance? Public reports, in addition to the Starry Sky 2, include the Lingyun hypersonic vehicle that was previously unveiled at the Defense Exhibition.
A Chinese hypersonic vehicle designed to deliver weapons at high speeds failed in its second test launch, the South China Morning Post reported. The vehicle, dubbed the WU-14 by the Pentagon, was launched in Shanxi province on 07 August 2014, breaking apart soon afterwards.
China reportedly conducted a third flight test for its new ultra-high speed strike vehicle in December 2014. The test flight, monitored by US intelligence services this week, was the third in a series of tests of the Wu-14 hypersonic glide vehicle—a high-accuracy, high speed projectile, reports the Washington Free Beacon. A Pentagon representative confirmed the test to the WFB, but declined to provide further comment. “We are aware of reports regarding this test and we routinely monitor foreign defense activities,” Marine Corps Lt. Col. Jeff Pool said. “However, we don’t comment on our intelligence or assessments of foreign weapon systems.”
On 07 June 2015 China conducted the fourth successful test of a new hypersonic vehicle. The test of the Wu-14 hypersonic strike vehicle was launched atop a ballistic missile fired from a test facility in western China. The vehicle executed "extreme maneuvers" that intelligence officials say are meant to test the ability to dodge US anti-missile defense systems. This marked the fourth test in 18 months, after previous flights in January, August and December, 2014.
China successfully carried out a flight test of its state-of-the-art high-speed maneuvering warhead on 122 April 2016, sources in the Pentagon said. The trial took place just days after a hypersonic glider was reportedly tested by Russia. The DF-ZF hypersonic glide vehicle was launch by a ballistic missile fired from the Wuzhai site in central China, unnamed US military officials told the Washington Free Beacon website.
The maneuvering glider was tracked by American satellites as it was traveling at the speed of several thousand kilometers per hour along the edge of the atmosphere towards an impact area in the west of the country, the sources said. It was the seventh flight test of the Chinese glide vehicle, with six previous tests conducted in 2014 and 2015 also having been successful.
According to the Washington Free Beacon, US intelligence believes that Beijing may use DF-ZF (formerly codenamed WU-14 by the Pentagon), capable of reaching speeds of over 11,000 kilometers per hour, to deliver nuclear weapons bypassing even the most complex of missile defense systems. The glider could also become a part of a conventional strategic strike weapon that would enable China to hit targets anywhere in the world within just an hour.
Xingkong-2 XK-2 Hypersonic Waverider Flight Tests
Hypersonic aircraft are capable of breaking all existing missile defense systems, Chinese experts say. China has successfully tested its first hypersonic “waverider” flight vehicle, the newspaper Global Times reported in August 2018, citing a statement released by the China Academy of Aerospace Aerodynamics. The Xingkong-2, or Starry Sky-2, waverider flies in the atmosphere and uses shockwaves generated after it breaks the sound barrier to glide at hypersonic speeds. The small booster rocket seemed to be a B-611, which was first displayed at China's International Aviation and Space Exhibition in 2004, said to have a range of only 150-250 kilometers.
Launched in a rocket at a target range in northwestern China on 03 August 2018 Friday, the Xingkong-2 [there does not appear to have been a Xingkong-2] executed a number of maneuvers at an altitude of 30 kilometers (18.6 miles) before landing in a designated area 10 minutes later. the hypersonic vehicle said to have successfully separated from its launch vehicle and engaged in high-altitude maneuvering during its ten minute flight. After nearly 10 minutes of flight, the rocket completed the active segment turning, jetisoning fairing, interstage separation, releasing the hypersonic aircraft into autonomous flight, ballistic large maneuvering, etc.
The first test of Starry Sky 2, flying at an altitude of 30 kilometers and a speed of 6 Mach, were not impressive performance parameters, as boosting gliding aircraft, or cruise aircraft using scramjet can exceed these indicators. Therefore, Starry Sky 2 was initially unable to effectively break through the missile defense system, and it it claims that it can "hit anywhere in the the world within an hour" are purely nonsense.
The Aerospace Exploration Institute of the China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation presented this waverider as the first hypersonic test aircraft in the aerodynamic layout of the wave body. Starry Sky 2 was developed by Aerospace Science and Technology Group Aerodynamics Research Institute (Eleventh Research Institute). The institute is mainly engaged in aerodynamic research. Compared with other units in the group, the representative works in recent years are not rockets, but the "Rainbow" drone, which sells well in the international market.
Waveriders are a hypersonic aircraft design using the shock waves generated by their own flight as a lifting surface to improve their lift-to-drag ratio. Carrying a conventional or nuclear payload or simply using the immense kinetic energy unleashed by their flight to destroy their targets, the maneuverable high speed systems can evade any existing or prospective countermeasures. Russia is expected to deploy its Avangard hypersonic boost-glide vehicle aboard the Sarmat heavy intercontinental ballistic missile by late 2018 or early 2019. The US is has its own projects in this direction, most notably its Boeing X-51 unmanned scramjet aircraft. In May 2018, the US Air Force announced that it was accelerating the development of its hypersonic weapons projects to catch up with Russia and China.
According to Chinese military experts, cited by Global Times, the Xingkong-2 can carry nuclear warheads and break through any existing anti-missile defense system due to its high speed and unpredictable trajectory. There will be more tests of the waverider before it is handed over to the Chinese armed forces. The current generation of anti-missile defense systems is mainly designed to intercept cruise and ballistic missiles, which are either slower or easier to predict, making them possible to intercept, while the trajectory of a waverider is relatively unpredictable and flies so fast that it poses an extreme challenge to existing anti-missile defense systems.
In summary, despite public reports and hot speculation on the Internet, which is not reliable, the real missile defense killer has not publicly appeared. This Starry Sky 2 is at best a hypersonic scientific research platform with modest performance indicators. It has no relationship with military equipment.
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