When you think about weapons developments in other countries, most people jump to nuclear weapons. An often overlooked, and not quite relevant, possibility is of a more hypersonic nature.
It’s been recently revealed that China is working on a new hypersonic weapon operating from a high-altitude balloon drop. Photos and videos of the technology have been surfacing in bunches over the last few days, detailing what appears to be hypersonic boost-glide vehicle configurations attached to the base of these balloons.
Screenshots from this Douyin short video. pic.twitter.com/XvhnzMhhY7
— dafeng cao (@dafengcao) September 21, 2018
The payload adapter appears to support up to three glide vehicles. Their design looks strikingly similar to those we’ve seen before of a hypersonic vehicle. (Example in header)
It may seem odd for certain cultures to see military testing like this captured by public cameras. Though China has a surprisingly open research method with academic institutions, military or otherwise. If they don’t want something shown, they keep it much more closely knit.
Hypersonic arms are dangerous, China, America, and Russia all have been dedicating efforts toward the concept. For those unfamiliar: A hypersonic weapon is a missile that travels at Mach 5 or higher, which is at least five times faster than the speed of sound. When armed with explosives, they are significantly harder to respond to. The time it takes from launch to landing is a heck of a lot shorter than the minimum time needed to evacuate almost any city.