missile technology – Hypersonic Missile Test
missile technology – What Signals Is China Sending US ?
So there’s been a lot of excitement and chatter around this recent news report about
China testing a hypersonic missile for the very first time and that to a missile that can
deliver a nuclear warhead. Now what is this excitement about? What is this story about
what is so different about this new technology? I’ll try and break it down from both
points of view, why this technology is new, why the United States should be worried
about this technology ( missile technology ) , and also what is the defense against this new technology?
What exactly is a hypersonic missile? It’s like a conventional intercontinental ballistic missile
or conventional ballistic missile. The only difference is a ballistic missile goes from
point A to point B, almost like in a curve, like a parabolic curve. You fire it from point A.
Then it goes into higher orbit in space and then comes down through the atmosphere
and hits point B. So it’s like throwing a ball up in the air. You throw a ball up in the air.
It will come down in a parabolic curve because of gravity. That’s a conventional ballistic missile.
A hypersonic missile ( missile technology ) is also fired off from point A. It goes up to the Earth’s atmosphere,
breaches the atmosphere, reaches the lower orbit. It does not go into higher orbit.
It reaches the low orbit right outside the atmosphere, in lower orbit space and then
glides all the way till the point where it wants to re-enter the Earth’s atmosphere.
So in this instance, for example, one other notable thing that the Chinese did in the hypersonic test that happened on in August was this particular missile glided in lower orbit, circled all the way across the circumference of the Earth in lower orbit around the South Pole. Now, conventionally, the U.S. has guarded itself against missile attacks from China and from Russia, all through the North Pole route. This is the first time that a country has tested a missile using the South Pole route, and that is not something that the United States has missile defense. For the other very important thing as far as the missile defense is concerned. Now, conventionally, when you fire a ballistic missile, the moment it gets fired off from Point A, you can calculate the trajectory. The trajectory is largely it remains the same. It’s very difficult in a conventional ballistic missile to change trajectory midway through the flight of the missile. So once it leaves Point A, if you have state of the art, sophisticated ( missile defense equipment’s and supercomputers, then you can talk to a reasonable amount of accuracy. Tell what is the destination or what is the point be that this ballistic missile wants to hit. Also, because conventional ballistic missiles go higher up into orbit, they are much easy to detect either through radars, ground based radar stations or even through satellites that are up in space because conventional ballistic missiles go all the way into the higher reaches of outer space.
Whereas with a hypersonic missile for both of these reasons, because it doesn’t go into higher orbit, it goes into lower orbit. It is much more difficult to pick up by both conventional ground based radar stations, as well as from outer space through satellites. Because it doesn’t go into higher orbit. It’s much like aircraft technology. Conventional military radars can pick up flights that are at a much higher flight path and a much higher height compared to those that are going in lower flight. So the exact same principle applies for missiles as well. So what is then the big deal about why China did this? China is sending out not just a military signal to the United States, but clearly things have ratcheted up between Beijing and Washington over the last three or four years or so, particularly in the question of Taiwan. This will be the question of Hong Kong. All the island disputes that China is having with Japan, Vietnam, of course, the the Himalayan clash that’s going on between India and China. All of these factors have played a role in the Chinese perception that sooner or later there will be some kind of a long, drawn war, even if it’s a conventional one.
There will be a long, drawn war in which inevitably the United States will have to get drawn in. Now, China, by testing a hypersonic missile, is sending out a signal to the United States that, for example, if in the event of a clash where our Taiwan is forcibly annexed or China uses force to try and annex Taiwan, then if the U.S. were to enter that war, then China is basically laying the threshold of that war. Its. Basically telling the United States we have the capability of hitting you with a hypersonic missile, which your radars are conventionally not built to detect, the missile defense conventionally is not built to defend against, and most importantly, it goes to the southern polar route, which you are not prepared for. So the cost of escalating that conventional war up until the nuclear threshold becomes that much higher for the United States. On the other side, the United States is viewing this aid with a great degree of surprise because from all the reports that we have seen with its Pentagon officials, officials in in the CIA all seem to be absolutely stunned by the speed with which this has happened. We watch closely China’s development of armament and advanced capabilities and systems
That will only increase tensions in the region. Also, what’s interesting is the manner in which they detected how this test came about to be. Remember, China launches what is called the Long March rocket. Essentially, these are all like satellites. They have to be launched into space on the same technology that’s used to launch satellites into space. So you have to have rockets to put it up into into orbit in space and then are using gravity and other technology. It comes down to the intended target. So in this case, China has been long testing the Long March rockets. I think they do about a dozen, some in some years, even more than a dozen, every every single year. So this time they had one Long March rocket that was tested and publicly announced in the month of July. There was another one the Long March seventy nine, which was tested in late August, which was also announced, and suddenly the Long March rocket number seventy eight, which was the one in between. There was no public announcement or acknowledgment of that particular missile, that particular rocket launch. That’s when the EFT correspondent who broke the story detected that this missing launch, the launch number seventy eight, which was the missing piece that turned out to be the hypersonic missile nafaa. For the record, China is denying that this was a hypersonic missile. It says the Long March rockets are something that they can eventually do and traditionally have done. It’s basically for sharpening up their space technology, for sending more and more satellites into air.
So, yeah, so it’s leasing the Hong Kong courtroom for the day. The Hong Kong born Geo Junior Coalition like Herb Lee on Hong Kong, Penny Wong function on your to do list year.
So that brings us back to the whole question of how the United States will now view this kind of new age warfare. Now, some would say this is not something new. This is something that the Soviet Union used to do in the seventies and eighties. It’s called the fractional orbital bombardment system, which means your missile or the projectile that you’re sending goes up into space. It’s in lower orbit and from lower orbit. It targets the destination that it needs to hit. Now, this was something that the Soviet Union eventually gave up. The fobs eventually gave up in nineteen ninety one when the country itself disintegrated. Ah, after which there was a conventional anti-ballistic missile treaty, which almost all the major powers in the world, including the United States, had signed up to and were part of, ah, very successfully for a number of years. If you remember, you go back to the the nineteen late nineties program Tests that India did. One of the big concerns of the world community had at that time was that India had not signed up to ABM. And in fact, for a number of years, the American interlocutors were trying to convince India to sign up on the anti-missile anti-ballistic missile treaty. Now what happened after 9-11, George Bush and his then defense secretary, Donald Rumsfeld, took a call to walk out of this anti-ballistic missile treaty.
So right now, for the last 20 years or so, the world does not have a regulatory framework, does not have a treaty, does not have a legal document which governs how all major powers control their nuclear weapons, its stockpile. And of course, if there are any, any treaties to control who can use, whether they can use first, or whether they they will only have second strike capability and so on and so forth. Now, the last time China and the United States had a dialogue on the question of nuclear weapons was six or seven years ago. Obama was president, and it was not even at a very high level. It was, if I’m not mistaken, at the assistant secretary level, which is a fairly low level. For diplomatic engagement, after which there’s been no communication whatsoever on the question of nuclear weapons between Beijing and Washington. And this comes at a very critical time because Joe Biden, the president of the United States, is going to undertake a complete review, a complete overhaul of America’s nuclear doctrine and this dissed by China at this time sends out a message to Washington that, look, we have this new capability. You do not have any produced knowledge of how to defend against this capability. By doing this, China is also sending a signal that if you are open to talks, if you are going to review your nuclear doctrine and if we both are agreeable to no first use, then this is a signal that China is sending that we are willing to come to the negotiating table now.
The question is what message does the United States draw out of it? It could possibly draw two messages out of it, one that China is on this almost irreversible path of militarization. And the only way to stop that is to go back to what happened between the US and the USSR are almost like an arms race of sorts. There is also the other view to to look at this and say that China is sending out a signal that they are willing to sit down and negotiate as far as our nuclear weapons are concerned because it is in their interest, it is in China’s interests to ensure that even if there were to be a future conflict, let’s say the most probable case would be Taiwan. It is kept below the nuclear threshold that is in China’s interests to ensure and that’s why they have done this test as well to send out the signal to the US that that we’re willing to come to the table if you create the conditions, the favorable conditions for having a dialogue about nuclear weapons.
Image Courtesy : ET Times Source
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