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In the field of new weapons, China and Russia are rushing with hypersonic speed

Satisfied at the start, the Pentagon tries in vain to organize a technological chase

Newsweek responded to the video clip of the Ministry of Defense of China, which captures the tests of a promising hypersonic rocket. At the same time, the movie was called “propaganda” by the Americans.


The purpose of the Newsweek publication, judging by the text, is to tell compatriots how dangerous this new weapon created in an “authoritarian state” is. But do the Americans need to panic over the upcoming adoption of the Chinese super-rocket?


Newsweek honestly admits that the areas of hypersonic weapons the absolute world leaders are Russia and China. And the once omnipotent United States, having lagged behind in this field of armaments for several years, in the role of a catching-up country.


As regards the description of such weapons and the prospects for confronting him, the article in Newsweek is bona fide, since the author had previously communicated with two experts. And they reported that low-flying hypersonic cruise missiles and planning ballistic missile warheads are not easy to detect with the state-available modern radar systems serving the missile defense system. Detect such goals is possible at a very short distance. As a result, there may simply not be enough time to prepare for interception. But even if we succeed in launching an anti-missile using a hypersonic rocket or a planning unit, the probability of a successful interception is extremely low.


Of particular concern to the author of the publication is the fact that hypersonic weapons can have both conventional and nuclear equipment.


As an example of what Beijing already has in breakthrough military technology, Newsweek cites the planning combat unit DF-17, which can be equipped with one of the existing ICBMs in China. The unit, maneuvering in the atmosphere, maintains a speed from 5 M to 10 M. (Recall that the hypersonic speed begins when a five-fold speed of sound reaches 5 M). Hypersonic mode combat unit DF-17, having no engine, is able to withstand at a distance of 2500 km after separation from the launch vehicle.


China planned to put the DF-17 into service as early as 2020. According to Newsweek, this will be the first in the world such a system, transferred for use in the army. Which, however, does not quite correspond to the truth. More precisely, it does not correspond at all: the planning Avant-garde combat unit is already entering the Strategic Missile Forces of Russia. Last year, it began mass production. In the second half of this year, the Avangards will begin combat duty in the RSVN.


Little of. The units that are capable of maneuvering flight at a speed of 27 M are already equipped with our mine-based ICBMs “Voevoda”, called in the West the “Satan”. In the future, the same will be installed on the almost ready-to-produce super-heavy intercontinental ballistic missiles Sarmat.


However, overseas experts reassure readers of the magazine, stating that although the hypersonic weapon is very dangerous, it is only one of the elements in the chain that allows it to be used effectively.

– Striking an accurate strike against very distant targets depends on the effectiveness of the reinforcing chain, which includes intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance, which is vulnerable in itself, – said James Bosbotinis, head of the British company JB Associates and security in the air and sea.


However, with these elements of the chain in China, everything is fine. Thanks to significant advances in space. One of the objective indicators is the number of space launches, according to which the People’s Republic of China (37 launches last year) outpaced both the United States (34) and Russia (18).


The Chinese orbital grouping today exceeds 150 spacecraft for various purposes. And in three years the number of satellites will come close to two hundred. At the same time, great importance is attached to the military segment of the group. There are all types of devices – for reconnaissance, communication, navigation, inspection.


The Russian group in quantitative terms is almost the same – 156 satellites. The United States has more than four hundred orbiters. However, if we compare the military segments, the quantitative difference between the achievements of the Chinese and the Americans is not so high.


It should be borne in mind that China is making the greatest efforts in space to build a military space group. And it has already brought substantial results. Thanks to the creation of the Yaogan group, which controls the entire water area of ​​the World Ocean with the help of radar and optical electronic devices, as well as radio-electronic reconnaissance satellites, China managed to achieve dominance in the vast coastal zone.


The Yaogan grouping is focused primarily on the creation of the world’s only ballistic anti-ship missile DF-21D. She has a warhead of very high power and is capable of reliably hitting an aircraft carrier. Its speed “at the finish” reaches 10 M. The range is 1500 km. Given that no other anti-ship missile in the world in terms of flight range is up to 1,000 km.


The main problem that the Chinese managed to solve is to shoot a ballistic missile not at a point with specific coordinates, but at a target that dynamically changes its position in space. Without the Yaogan orbital grouping, such guidance would be impossible. So the chain, which was stated by expert Bosbotinis, is all right in China.


The appearance of the DF-21D rocket in the Chinese armed forces was perceived at the Pentagon with great pessimism. A number of extremely ingeniously frank statements were sounded that aircraft carrier groups would no longer be able to launch missile-bombing attacks in the depths of China’s territory. Because aircraft carriers because of the threat from the DF-21D will not even risk approaching the coast closer than 1500 km.


However, at the same time, Newsweek rightly informs readers that in reality, the PRC is building a powerful army and creating unique weapons for it by no means in order to attack the United States. China intends to “put an end to US military hegemony at least at the local or regional level.” And further: “Beijing hopes that hypersonic weapons will become a key element in this subversive strategy.”


That is, note: to establish itself militarily exclusively at home is a “disruptive strategy.” So in the United States considers not only Newsweek.


But the final publication is served in a cheerful style: “The United States is already approaching China on the heels.” This statement is based on the fact that pictures of the promising American hypersonic AGM-183A Advanced Rapid Response Weapon appeared in the public space. In the US, it is being tested. “According to some reports, it will be able to reach speeds of up to 20 M.”


Yes, indeed, in the middle of June, the B-52 strategic bomber, which had something similar to the AGM-183A installed on an external sling, took off from the California airbase Edwards. True, it was not a rocket. And not even its prototype. And the overall weight model, which has no engine, no warhead, no control system. The model was equipped with sensors that measured wind pressure and vibration.


So in this case it is not about creating a specific rocket, but about conducting research on a given topic. They are engaged in such giants of the American defense industry as “Boeing”, “Lockheed-Martin” and the Pentagon Agency for Advanced Military Research DARPA. Obtaining results (that is, workable prototypes) are expected closer to the middle of the next decade.


Last year, the US Air Force, who oversees these works, reported that prototypes are being created “to study the possibility of their use in further development and to move these technologies as quickly as possible to implementation.” So by the middle of the next decade, we will have to add a few more years. And, accordingly, the optimism of Newsweek about the pursuit of Russia and China, while it rests on a very fragile ground.

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