The United States and China are in an “arms race” to develop hypersonic weapons, the US Air Force secretary said on Tuesday.
“There is an arms race, not necessarily for increased numbers, but for increased quality,” US Air Force Secretary Frank Kendall III said in an interview with Reuters.
“It’s an arms race that has been going on for quite some time. The Chinese have been at it very aggressively.”
In October, the top US military officer General Mark Milley confirmed a Chinese hypersonic weapons test, and both the US and China continue to build and test more of the high-speed, next-generation arms.
Regarding China’s advancements with hypersonic weapons, military experts say that it shows Beijing’s pursuit of an Earth-orbiting system designed to evade US missile defenses.
Throughout this year, the Pentagon held several hypersonic weapons tests, and in October the Navy tested a booster rocket motor that would launch a vehicle carrying such weaponry.
Hypersonic weapons travel more than five times faster than the speed of sound – about 3,853 miles per hour. Some do so by travelling in the upper atmosphere.