A documentary broadcast on Sunday reveals China's hypersonic aircraft models for the first time, with experts saying it shows China's breakthrough in aircraft technology for civilian and military use.
The China Central Television (CCTV) documentary shows the aircraft models undergoing tests in the JF12 shockwave wind tunnel, and is meant to welcome the forthcoming 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China.
Jiang Zonglin, a Chinese Academy of Sciences research fellow, said in the documentary that the hypersonic aircraft are being domestically developed and could cut the commercial flight time from Beijing to New York to two hours.
However, the documentary did not mention the name, type and more detailed information on the aircraft.
"China's hypersonic technologies are making progress, and will be used for civilian and military purposes," Song Zhongping, a military expert who served in the PLA Rocket Force, told the Global Times on Tuesday.
Song explained that hypersonic aircraft, or those with speeds at least five times that of sound, have clear advantages, especially for military use.
U.S. media has been speculating about China's hypersonic weapons tests since 2014, with the Washington Free Beacon reporting on the 7th test of the homemade WU-14 hypersonic glide vehicle (HGV) in April 2016, claiming it is an ultra high-speed missile capable of penetrating U.S. air defense systems.
Jiang also said in the documentary that the U.S. has been discussing the JF12 wind tunnel in four consecutive annual military reports.
The documentary's revelation of China's breakthrough in hypersonic research and development is a response to U.S. speculation, Song said.
The documentary also discussed advances in China's JF-12 shockwave wind tunnel, which is able to create a wind speed five to 10 times that of sound.
It said the U.S. wind tunnel can only create wind speeds four to seven times more the speed of sound.