“It’s a new Sputnik Moment” – Corriere.it

“It’s a new Sputnik Moment” – Corriere.it
“It’s a new Sputnik Moment” – Corriere.it
from Guido Santevecchi

American general Mark Milley, in an interview, compared the new supermissile tested by the Chinese with a key moment of the Cold War, when the USSR sent Sputnik, the first artificial satellite, into orbit

He revived the suggestion of the Soviet Sputnik that surprised and shocked the Americans General Mark Milley to better capture the attention of Washington public opinion. The Chinese test with a hypersonic missile is very worrying, the head of the US United Military Commands told Bloomberg TV yesterday and concluded: I don’t know if it is exactly a “Sputnik Moment”, but I think it has come a long way.

Younger people will have to resort to Google searches to understand the meaning of the warning, the elderly will remember well instead of 1957, during the Cold War, with the fear of the Bomb, the Soviet Union was the first power in the world to launch an artificial satellite into orbit, Sputnik, giving a severe blow to the American presumption of being light years ahead of the Communist adversary for space technology. Faced with the national shock, while American children practiced hiding under school desks in the event of a Soviet attack, President Kennedy pledged to win the space race and bring an American astronaut to the moon before the Russians.

China, therefore, experimenting with a hypersonic missile last summer, reminded the US commander Joint Chiefs of Staff Sputnik shock with hammer and sickle. General Milley, the first American officer with name and surname to talk about the Chinese test: so far the information had only come from anonymous intelligence sources, who a few days ago said they were surprised and alarmed.

Beijing has denied having launched a hypersonic device and claims that last summer its scientists dedicated themselves solely to testing civilian spacecraft, refining their ability to return to the ground intact and be reused. In addition, according to US intelligence revelations, the Chinese hypersonic test was not a great success: the missile would have missed the target by 30 kilometers. Military experts add that a hypersonic missile would not change the strategic situation: Americans, Chinese and Russians still have such a number of ballistic and cruise missiles that no Ballistic Defense System could stop them all, on either side of the fence. heavenly.

The characteristic of the hypersonic missile is not so much its amazing speed (about 6,200 kilometers per hour) as the ability to fly at lower altitudes than a ballistic missile and to reach the enemy target more quickly, even changing course. Basically, by attacking with a hypersonic missile, the Chinese could pierce the American defense, but they could do it too (and more effectively) simultaneously launching a series of ballistic missiles. The test, therefore, would not be a game changer, as they say in technical language. In Washington they are not convinced, they point to the growing Chinese threat, even though at the moment there are 350 nuclear warheads in Beijing’s arsenals, a third of which are mounted on long-range missiles, compared to 3,750 US warheads, of which 1,373 are long-range. .

In recent months, American newspapers have been leaked about hundreds of underground silos scattered by the Chinese in the Gobi desert, now the hypersonic missile capable of flying five times the speed of sound. Disturbing technical expressions are used for the uninitiated: There is a possibility that the Chinese will attack from space using the “Fractional Orbital Bombardment System”, a weapon system that practically goes into orbit and then re-enters the Earth’s atmosphere to hit the target, US Air Force Secretary Frank Kendall said. The American military (like the military all over the world, including the Chinese) aim to indicate the strength of the opponent to obtain more funds and not lose the arms race. A very expensive game. Also yesterday, Gregory Hayes said the United States is years behind China for hypersonic weapons, which represent the most destabilizing threat to American territory. Who Gregory Hayes? The CEO of Raytheon Technologies, a large company that works for the US defense and is developing a hypersonic cruise missile for the armed forces of Washington.

October 28, 2021 (change October 28, 2021 | 12:23)

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