China Steals Top US Military Tech

A group of Chinese researchers has created and tested a hypersonic plane that can travel five times faster than the sound barrier and is modeled on a NASA prototype rejected 20 years ago.

A Victory for China

The test, according to Chinese media, marks yet another victory for China in the worldwide competition to acquire cutting-edge military technology.

According to the Sydney Morning Herald, China plans to build a fleet of ultrafast jets capable of transporting ten people anywhere around the world in under an hour by 2035.

Ming Han Tang (a native Chinese aircraft engineer who was the director of engineering for NASA’s early supersonic project in the late 1990s) designed a Two-Stage Vehicle (TSV) X-plane.

The plans for the US model were released in 2011; Chinese scientists in charge of the country’s hypersonic weapons development embraced the concept.

The Nanjing Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics research group that fully tested the hypersonic plane was highlighted in the South China Morning Post.

As per a peer-reviewed publication quoted by the SCMP, a wind tunnel was purportedly utilized to recreate flight characteristics and take the flight from Mach 4 to Mach 8. Strong turbulence has been observed as a problem with the twin-engine configuration, affecting flying stability and ascension.

Professor Tan Huijun, a member of the Nanjing team, received a top Chinese state accolade for his contributions to the country’s hyper ballistic missile program, according to the SCMP.

Hypersonic vehicles can travel at speeds of up to 6100 km/h, making them more difficult to detect and prevent than regular missile carriers. Ming’s hypersonic airplane prototype has two distinct engines on each side, unlike other hypersonic aircraft, which only have one.

The Boeing Manta X-47C project was supposed to verify the TSV X-plan design, but it was canceled, due to excessive costs and technical concerns.

The Vehicle is Massive

The SCMP announced in July the development of a 45-meter long hypersonic jet by military-backed aerospace scientists.

Although the United States has been working on hypersonic tech, military officials cautioned that China, and probably Russia, are moving ahead quickly. The United States said in November it would invest $60 million in creating weapons to defend the country from hypersonic strikes.

In October, the military released a report, revealing China was rapidly increasing its military and nuclear capabilities, far faster than analysts predicted a year ago.

China will equal or overtake the United States as a worldwide power by the middle of the century, according to the document, which is significantly sooner than previously expected.

However, the US-China Financial and Security Review Commission cautioned that China’s nuclear arms development increased the potential of conflict over Taiwan.

The congressional group advised the US to tighten its “military deterrence” tactics to prevent an “unintentional nuclear development” in a 550-page study.