BEIJING, Oct 17 (Reuters) - China tested a nuclear-capable
hypersonic missile in August, showing a capability that caught
U.S. intelligence by surprise, the Financial Times reported,
citing five unnamed sources.
The report late on Saturday said the Chinese military
launched a rocket carrying a hypersonic glide vehicle that flew
through low-orbit space, circling the globe before cruising
towards its target, which it missed by about two dozen miles.
"The test showed that China had made astounding progress on
hypersonic weapons and was far more advanced than US officials
realised," the report said, citing people briefed on the
China's ministry of defence did not immediately respond to a
faxed request for comment from Reuters on Sunday.
The United States and Russia are also developing hypersonic
missiles, and last month North Korea https://www.reuters.com/world/asia-pacific/north-korea-says-it-test-fired-new-hypersonic-missile-kcna-2021-09-28
said it had test-fired a newly-developed hypersonic missile.
At a 2019 parade, China showcased advancing weaponry
including its hypersonic missile, known as the DF-17.
Ballistic missiles fly into outer space before returning on
steep trajectories at higher speeds. Hypersonic weapons are
difficult to defend against because they fly towards targets at
lower altitudes but can achieve more than five times the speed
of sound - or about 6,200 km per hour (3,850 mph).
(Reporting by Beijing newsroom; Editing by William Mallard)