BEIJING - China said on Sunday that it has successfully tested its waverider hypersonic aircraft which is capable of flying independently and of carrying nuclear warheads.
State-run Global Times reported that the Xingkong-2 - also called Starry Sky-2 - was fired at a target range in north-west China and tested for 10 minutes. During its independent flight, Xingkong-2 - designed by China Academy of Aerospace Aerodynamics reached an altitude of 30 kilometres at Mach 5.5.
It is reported that Xingkong-2 is a flight vehicle which flies in the atmosphere and glides at high speeds using shockwaves generated by its own hypersonic flight with the air. It can reportedly carry nuclear warheads and break past anti-missile defence systems currently in use the world over. This is primarily because Xingkong-2 has an unpredictable trajectory and has a superior in-flight speed to cruise and ballistic missiles.
While there is no word on when it would be officially handed over to the country's military, there are more tests expected in coming months. Those in the know say that Xingkong-2 can eventually be used for both tactical and strategic operations.
China has been modernising its military and aims to become a major manufacturer of weapons systems in the times to come. Numerous reports in the Chinese media have said that Beijing desires to be at par with the United States and Russia when it comes to military might and prowess.