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China tests its first waverider hypersonic aircraft

Graphic News

August 6, 2018 -- China says it has successfully tested its first experimental hypersonic waverider vehicle. The Starry Sky-2 could potentially be used as a weapon capable of evading current air defence networks.

The vehicle was launched in a target range located in northwest China on August 3, according to the China Academy of Aerospace Aerodynamics in Beijing, part of State-owned space contractor China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation.

The Chinese waverider reached an altitude of 30km and maintained speeds above Mach 5.5 for more than 400 seconds, reported China Daily.

China has been testing hypersonic glide vehicles since 2014, but the Starry Sky-2 is the first to employ waverider technology, using shock waves generated by its own flight as a lifting force.

If used as a weapon, the vehicle could potentially carry nuclear warheads and evade current anti-missile defence systems due to its high speed and unpredictable trajectory, Chinese experts said.

The United States and Russia are also developing hypersonic weapons.

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