“It’s a new arms race, and Beijing is very aggressive” – ​​Corriere.it

“It’s a new arms race, and Beijing is very aggressive” – ​​Corriere.it
“It’s a new arms race, and Beijing is very aggressive” – ​​Corriere.it
from Guido Santevecchi

The US Air Force secretary says the Chinese have the advantage because the Americans got distracted with Iraq and Afghanistan. And our planes don’t scare Beijing

President Biden rejects the idea that a new Cold War is underway between the United States and China. But Pentagon generals say a hypersonic arms race has started and the Chinese are conducting it very aggressively. Frank Kendall, secretary of the US Air Force, argues that in recent years the United States has concentrated military funds for campaigns in Iraq and Afghanistan, but has lost sight of investments in the next generation of weapons. The hypersonic ones, in fact. According to Secretary Kendall, this new arms race not to increase the numbers in the arsenals, but to improve their quality.

At the Pentagon they don’t stop talking surprised and shocked by China’s progress in the field of hypersonic weapons (which go to the target at five times the speed of sound, 6,200 kilometers per hour, and above all they glide at low altitude, changing course and being much more difficult to intercept than ICBMs, which follow a trajectory that can be calculated by the defense) . Last summer, US analysts detected a hypersonic vehicle launched by the Chinese who made a turn around the earth before descending against the target set for the test.

A few days ago, US military intelligence sources revealed that they had studied better and had been doubly surprised. That hypersonic vehicle hid a second threat: while in flight he launched a missile. It would be the first such test ever attempted by a power. A game of Chinese boxes with a nuclear warhead. In practice, the main vehicle equipped with a nuclear warhead would fly towards the main target, while the missile released during the action would point to the enemy’s anti-missile defense systems to destroy them and protect the run of the mother device.

China first power to master this hypersonic developmentThis is why General Mark Milley, head of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, called Chinese flight a new Sputnik Moment, comparing it to the shock caused in 1957 by the Soviet Union launching the first satellite into orbit. Beijing does not confirm, indeed, it has denied the Pentagon’s first alarm
claiming that the hypersonic vehicle was actually for civilian use and was experiencing the return to earth of an innocent spaceship. China’s foreign ministry says: Our strategy has always been defensive, we have no global military plans like the United States, and we have no interest in engaging in an arms race. America makes excuses to create “the Chinese threat” and justify its military spending.

Ma in the Chinese press one can read large pieces of their hypersonic prowess for military use. Scientists from the Chinese Aerodynamic Research Institute have just announced that they have developed a wind tunnel designed to reach speeds between Mach 4 and Mach 8 (4-8 times the speed of sound), at a temperature of 900 Kelvin (626 degrees celsius) and at a simulated flight altitude of 48,000 meters. The wind tunnel, called Fl-64,
suitable for experimenting with the separation and deployment of bombs from a hypersonic vehicle, they say in Beijing. Frank Kendall, who as US Air Force Secretary in charge of equipping and training the American Air and Space Forces, told the agency Reuters: Not that we haven’t done anything, but not enough.

The Pentagon conducted several tests of hypersonic weapons this year, with mixed results. The Hawc (an acronym for Hypersonic Air-breathing Weapon Concept) was successful last September. The missile, built by Raytheon Technologies, was released in flight from a plane seconds before the ignition of his autonomous jet, developed by Northrop Grumman. The US Department of Defense has determined that hypersonic weapons and hypersonic systems counteractivity are the highest technical priority for national security, said Wes Kremer, president of Raytheon Missiles & Defense.

In October, the US Navy tested a new rocket engine which would have made technical progress in the race. In July it was Russia that tested Zircon, a hypersonic cruise missile. The Moscow Ministry of Defense released a photo of the test showing Zircon taking off from the frigate Admiral Gorskhov, sailing in the White Sea. This new generation of Russian weapons is unparalleled in the world, congratulated Vladimir Putin.

Kendall, who in addition to graduating from West Point has an engineering degree and a past as a supermanager of private companies, naturally asks for more funds for the budget of the US Air Force. And think about optimizing the use of resources by withdrawing old weapon systems that are too expensive to maintain. I love the A-10 fighter-bomber, the C-130 transport aircraft, the Mq-9 drone, solid material that has supported our campaigns for decades and are still useful for counter-terrorism, but these weapons systems no longer bother China running towards hypersonic weapons, observes the US Air Force political leader.

December 1, 2021 (change December 1, 2021 | 11:54 am)

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