China's new "hypersonic" ballistic missiles has potential to more accurately hit military targets in India Japan and, a media report said on Tuesday.
The report comes after Tokyo-based The Diplomat magazine reported that China's rocket forces conducted two tests late last year of a new "hypersonic glide vehicle" or HGV, known as the DF-17.
The People's Liberation Army (PLA) Rocket Force carried out the first test on November 1 and the second one two weeks later. Both tests were successful and the DF-17 could be operational by around 2020, the US intelligence sources were quoted as saying.
Asked about the two tests, Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang on Tuesday declined to react saying the defence ministry should be approached for information on this. Both tests were successful and the DF-17 could be operational by around 2020, the US intelligence sources were quoted as saying.
HGVs are unmanned, rocket-launched, manoeuvrable aircraft that glide and "skip" through the earth's atmosphere at incredibly fast speeds.
Compared to conventional ballistic systems, HGV warheads can travel at much higher speeds, lower altitudes and less- trackable trajectories. The approach leaves defence systems less time to intercept the warhead before it drops its payload.
The DF-17 test missiles were launched from the Jiuquan launch centre in Inner Mongolia and flew about 1,400 km during the trial, PTI reports.
Chinese state media first reported on the country's HGV technology in October, with footage of the system in a hypersonic wind tunnel in various arrays.
"The US, Japan and India should be worried about China's developments in HGV technology because it can reach targets quicker and more accurately, with military bases in Japan and even nuclear reactors in India being targeted," he was quoted as saying by the daily.
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Chinese military specialists said the DF-17 was one of several iterations of glider systems developed by the PLA, including the DF-ZF which has been through at least seven tests.
OneIndia News (with PTI inputs)