Over the summer, China shocked the U.S. intelligence community with numerous tests of nuclear-capable hypersonic missiles that went around the earth.
Now the number 2 man in the United States military is stressing these tests and other actions by Beijing to warn about the possibility for surprise nuclear attacks from the Chinese government.
Reports showed last month that the Chinese military launched numerous tests of hypersonic missiles that could circumnavigate the globe while delivering nuclear payloads. According to sources, American intelligence personnel were surprised by these tests.
Joint Chiefs Vice Chairman General John Hyten saw these tests and other efforts by the Chinese and revealed to CBS News recently that the United States should be worried about a possible surprise nuclear attack.
“They launched a very long-range missile,” the general said to CBS News. “It went around the globe, dropped off a hypersonic glider that all the way back to the Chinese mainland, and impacted a target there.”
When we asked if the missle hit its target, Hyten said, “Close enough.”
Hypersonic missiles are more difficult to track than ICBMs that travel in an arc that can be watched and predicted by a radar, while hypersonic weapons going lower to the earth and can avoid detection.
“That is a very significant new capability that could change a lot of things,” he said to the outlet. “So we must be very concerned about this.”
Hyten warned about the hypersonic missiles that look to be a “first-strike weapon,” saying, “That is what those weapons seem to be like to me.”
The general also said the Chinese hypersonic tests are not new. According to Hyten, China has done many hundreds of tests over the past five years compared to only nine done by the U.S. military.
He also stated that the Chinese military has already used a different medium-range hypersonic missile, according to CBS News, while the United States is years from launching its first hypersonic weapon.
Combined with the country’s efforts to build hundreds of new silos, Hyten says he thinks Beijing could eventually have the ability to conduct a surprise nuclear attack on the United States.
“Why are they building this capability?” Hyten said.
“I think it should give us a sense of urgency,” he stated, according to CBS News.
Author: Scott Dowdy