CHINA is stockpiling a hypersonic nuke branded “the flying death sentence” that’s capable evading all existing anti-missile shields deployed by America and its allies.
The land-based hypersonic ballistic nuclear missile – known as Dong Feng 17 or DF-17 – can surge to speeds of up to 7,680mph and experts say it is able to “hit every corner of the Earth”.
Wu Qian, of China’s defence ministry, confirmed the country has commissioned DF-17 and DF-26 missiles in “large numbers”.
Beijing unveiled the hypersonic DF-17 nuke in 2019 – offering a glimpse of the “blindingly fast and unstoppable” missile in a four minute clip that July
The weapon contains a hypersonic glide vehicle and can be fitted with a nuclear warhead and is said to be capable of achieving speeds of up to 7,680 mph – or ten times the speed of sound.
Foreign analysts say it’s designed to move at high speed to evade anti-missile defences.
The DF-17 hypersonic missile can theoretically manoeuvre sharply at many times the speed of sound, making it extremely difficult to counter.
It comes as tensions hit boiling between the US and China over Beijing’s increasing occupation of the disputed South China Sea.
An expert has warned China is building mock-up targets of US aircraft carriers “to provoke Americans” as troops train for real-life military operations.
The country has developed missile targets shaped like US warships in its latest warning to rivals.
Sam Armstrong, of the Henry Jackson Society, told The Sun the latest war games are aimed at provoking the West.
He said: “These are working models that are ready to be deployed as a training exercise for a real-life operation against western forces.
“You don’t build a training model of an aircraft carrier unless you’re planning to run a bombing raid on an aircraft carrier.”
Beijing appears to have constructed missile targets depicting a full-scale outline of at least two Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyers and a US carrier, pictures show.
Experts believe the targets could be mounted on rails to mimic a moving vessel.
Collin Koh, a research fellow at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies in Singapore, said: “I don’t think the desert targets are going to be the final stage. It’s meant for further refinement.”
Wang Wenbin, China’s Foreign Ministry spokesperson, appeared to deny any knowledge of the mockups when quizzed.
He told a briefing earlier this month: “I’m not aware of the situation you mentioned.”
The snaps raised concerns that Beijing is taunting Washington as tensions over Taiwan “escalate”.
President Xi warned last week that the Asia-Pacific region must not return to the tensions seen during the Cold War.
He said: “The region cannot and should not relapse into the confrontation and division of the Cold War era.”
Meanwhile, it’s reported China’s recent round-the-world hypersonic nuclear weapon fired a second missile while travelling five times faster than the speed of sound.
No country had previously been able to demonstrate this advanced engineering feat and the test is said to have caught Pentagon scientists off guard.
Last month China stunned the world when it emerged it launched a hypersonic missile right around the globe.
Now it has been revealed the weapon is far more advanced than originally thought.
The hypersonic glide vehicle, a manoeuvrable spacecraft which can carry a nuclear warhead, fired a separate missile during its flight in the atmosphere over the South China Sea on July 27, according to a Financial Times report.
Experts at the Pentagon’s advanced research agency Darpa are said to be unsure how China achieved the feat, as scientists say it “tests the constraints of physics”.
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