BEIJING --- Foreign media reported that China is developing hypersonic weapons with an eye to piercing the missile defense shields of Japan and its East Asian neighbors.
Japan's Kyodo News February 26 quoted Canada's Kanwa Defense Review that the Rocket Force of the People's Liberation Army (PLA) has recently decided on a hypersonic weapon developing program targeting the missile defense system in Japan and China's Taiwan, as well as the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system to be deployed in the Republic of Korea (ROK) soon.
It is reported that hypersonic weapons are next-generation maneuvering strike weapons to be installed atop the ballistic missiles that travel at speeds of up to Mach 10, or 10 times the speed of sound. They can maneuver and glide along the atmospheric edge, making them very difficult to be shot down by anti-missile weapons.
It is thought that if China's hypersonic weapons advances, Japan's anti-missile system could be made impotent.
Japan's Air Self-Defense Force has already deployed the Patriot Advanced Capability-3 missile defense system along with the Japanese Maritime Self-Defense Force's Aegis destroyers equipped Standard Missile-3 (SM-3) interceptors.
China's Taiwan has also deployed Patriot Advanced Capability-3 (PAC-3), while ROK decided to deploy the advanced Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system on its soil to better cope with the missile threats from the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK).
Reports said that in addition to the hypersonic weapon project of the PLA Rocket Force, China has been developing such hypersonic weapons through another channel.
A state-owned enterprise is engaged in developing hypersonic weapons that can be launched atop long-range ballistic missiles to penetrate the missile defense system on the U.S. mainland.
American media reported that China has carried out seven hypersonic sliding vehicle tests in recent years, six of which succeeded. While China has acknowledged to such testing, but it was previously unknown that it was also working on short-range hypersonic weapons development program for East Asian targets.