U.S. Developing Hypersonic Weapons in China Challenge: Pentagon

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Bloomberg Quicktake: Now published this video item, entitled “U.S. Developing Hypersonic Weapons in China Challenge: Pentagon” – below is their description.

Pentagon Spokesman John Kirby said the U.S. is working on hypersonic weapon technologies after top U.S. military officer Gen. Mark Milley likened China’s hypersonic test to a “Sputnik moment.”

“Our own pursuit of hypersonic capabilities is is real, it’s tangible and and we are absolutely working towards being able to develop that capability,” Kirby said.

Kirby declined to comment on the test or on Milley’s remarks beyond saying that China’s work on advanced hypersonic weaponry is among a “suite of issues” that has the Biden administration concerned about relations with China.

MIlley was the first Pentagon official to confirm on the record the nature of a test this year by the Chinese military that the Financial Times had reported was a nuclear-capable hypersonic weapon that was launched into space and orbited the Earth before re-entering the atmosphere and gliding toward its target in China.

Milley said he could not discuss details because aspects involved classified intelligence. He said the United States also is working on hypersonic weapons, whose key features include flight trajectory, speed and maneuverability that make them capable of evading early warning systems that are part of U.S. missile defenses. The U.S. has not conducted a hypersonic weapon test of the sort Milley said China had achieved.

China has disputed Western news reports about its test, saying it was working on technology for a re-useable space vehicle for peaceful purposes.

In addition to its advances in hypersonic weapons, China has been expanding its network of underground silos that could be used to launch intercontinental-range nuclear missiles, and it has rebuffed U.S. calls to join nuclear arms control talks.

At Wednesday’s Pentagon briefing, Kirby also updated reporters on COVID-19 vaccinations rates for U.S. military personnel. He said that approximately 97 percent of active duty personnel have had at least one dose of the vaccine.

“Active duty personnel that are fully vaccinated as of today stands at 86.9 percent,” Kirby said. “Of the total force, 82 percent have at least one dose, and the fully vaccinated percentage of the total force is just over 68 percent,” he said.

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