Hypersonic arms race between China and the US
    What to expect?

    ANALYTICS  21 June 2024 - 17:02

    Fuad Shahbazov

    The ongoing global geopolitical turmoil created many security gaps in different regions while boosting the arms race between the leading global powers like the United States, China, Russia, and India.

    The war in the Gaza Strip between Israel and Hamas and the Russo-Ukraine war that erupted in 2022 triggered a diplomatic confrontation between the US-led geopolitical axis and the Russia-China duo. Although the US now imposes economic sanctions on Russia due to its war against Ukraine, its main concern is China, with its vast economic resources and rising soft power across the globe.

    In terms of rising influence in Central Asia, the Middle East, West Africa, Southeastern Europe, and recently in the Caucasus region, Beijing is steadily becoming a “headache of the US” by overshadowing its presence in a wide geography. More recently, the US-China rivalry renewed as both countries put enormous efforts into developing hypersonic missile fields to maintain superiority over each other.

    The main reason is that hypersonic weapons can reach at least Mach 5, or approximately 6,200 km per hour. Yet, while traditional long-range missiles, such as ballistic missiles, can reach similar speeds, hypersonic weapons can also fly at different altitudes and trajectories. When China’s DF-17 ballistic missile featured in a military parade in 2019, it became the first country in the world to publicly reveal a hypersonic weapon. China also recently announced it had made breakthroughs in heat-seeking technology for such weapons, which the US – having significantly increased funding for hypersonic research – has said it may not have until 2025.

    In addition to the US and China, Russia also developed its own hypersonic missiles in recent years to counterbalance the Western hegemony. As such, it even used six of its hypersonic Kinzhal missiles in Ukraine in 2023, the largest number the country has deployed in one strike during the war. Other countries, including Australia, Iran, both North and South Korea, Brazil, Germany, Israel, India, and Japan, are developing hypersonic programs. However, the increase in funding and the tempo of the US program comes as relations between the US and China have been the worst they've been in decades.

    Despite maintaining a leading role in this field, the US military hopes to raise funds with the retirement of older and expensive-to-maintain systems in favour of new systems, including hypersonic development programs. Moreover, some technical shortages and setbacks within the US military, particularly with the launcher and launch sequence of the new Long Range Hypersonic Weapon System, will keep the US Army from fielding its first LRHW battery until fiscal 2025. Earlier, the Army said it would field the first battery in fiscal year 2023 but admitted in September 2023 that it would miss that deadline.

    The development of hypersonic weapons is as important as developing means of intercepting them during conventional warfare or surprise attacks. Therefore, since 2018, Russia, China, and the US have begun developing means to intercept hypersonic weapons. Unlike Russia and the US, the status of China’s development of means to intercept hypersonic weapons is unknown.

    As for China, it officially announced in 2021 that it had conducted a test launch of a new hypersonic weapon capable of carrying a nuclear warhead. China is particularly interested in the rapid development of hypersonic weapons and defence technology to intercept them effectively in large-scale warfare. For many years, China has been seeking ways to counter US missile defence systems for decades; China has always felt that US missile defence systems undermine China's nuclear deterrence.

    The successful implementation of a hypersonic weapons strategy will enable China to significantly strengthen its own security sphere. Hence, considering China’s successful hypersonics testing and the combative mood between Beijing and Washington, it’s reasonable to be concerned about the acceleration in both weapons development and hostile rhetoric.

    Caliber.Az

    Subscribe to our Telegram channel


Read also

What does Azerbaijan want from Armenia? National interests over maximalism

13 July 2024 - 14:48

Border incident reinforces Azerbaijan's stance on Zangazur corridor security Post-conflict focus

13 July 2024 - 14:15

Azerbaijan-Armenia: Three gradations of accord: Where are we now? Contemplations with Orkhan Amashov/VIDEO

13 July 2024 - 13:48

Unexpected victory: Pezeshkian's win signals hope for Iran's future Will he be up to expectations?

13 July 2024 - 14:00

Azerbaijan-Pakistan: Trade under preferential conditions Following President Aliyev's visit

13 July 2024 - 13:18

Kazakhstan's hidden treasures New era for rare earth metals

13 July 2024 - 09:24
ADVERTS
Video
Latest news

    China eyes Iran’s nuclear policy shift under new reformist president

    14 July 2024 - 09:05

    India urges Russia to speed up S-400 delivery

    As geopolitical tensions rise

    14 July 2024 - 06:59

    Euro 2024 final promises a clash of giants

    Spain vs. England

    14 July 2024 - 04:35

    South Korea to start production of laser gun system

    To Combat drones

    14 July 2024 - 02:29

    Türkiye, Syria explore diplomatic reconciliation after decade-long rift

    14 July 2024 - 00:20

    EU accuses X of deceiving users with blue checkmark

    Sparking Musk's outrage

    13 July 2024 - 22:15

    EU seeks to renew ties with Türkiye

    Amid Ankara’s shift towards rivals

    13 July 2024 - 20:00

    PM Kobakhidze sets 2030 goal for Georgia's EU integration

    13 July 2024 - 18:10

    Israeli military targets Hamas paraglider warehouse in Rafah

    13 July 2024 - 17:57

    Former Armenian defence official accused of illegally selling military pantheon lands

    13 July 2024 - 17:45

    Poland mulls proposal to intercept Russian missiles over Ukraine

    13 July 2024 - 17:32

    President Ilham Aliyev endorses agreements with UN, Ethiopia

    13 July 2024 - 17:20

    Turkish forces tighten grip on PKK in northern Iraq, uncover terrorist depots

    VIDEO

    13 July 2024 - 17:08

    Türkiye seizes 1,564 firearms in nationwide crackdown on illegal weapons

    13 July 2024 - 16:56

    COP29 President, OSCE chief mull Azerbaijan's vision for climate conference

    13 July 2024 - 16:42

    President Aliyev hosts OSCE Secretary General to discuss COP29, regional co-op

    13 July 2024 - 16:33

    Sullivan engages with Indian counterpart amid US concerns over Modi's Russia visit

    13 July 2024 - 16:28

    SpaceX rocket accident leaves company’s Starlink satellites in wrong orbit

    13 July 2024 - 16:14

    Elon Musk accuses EU of covert deal as X faces digital services act violations

    13 July 2024 - 16:00

    Azerbaijan’s Foreign Ministry extends national day greetings to Montenegro

    13 July 2024 - 15:48

    Azerbaijan, OSCE focus on prospects for bilateral cooperation

    Regional, international security issues

    13 July 2024 - 15:36

    Children killed in Nigeria school collapse

    13 July 2024 - 15:24

    Azerbaijan sees surge in air passenger traffic, led by Russia and Türkiye

    13 July 2024 - 15:12

    Azerbaijani servicemen shine in Aktau-hosted military drills

    PHOTO/VIDEO

    13 July 2024 - 15:00

    What does Azerbaijan want from Armenia?

    National interests over maximalism

    13 July 2024 - 14:48

    Fatal bus crash in Türkiye's Mugla leaves two dead, dozens injured

    PHOTO

    13 July 2024 - 14:36

    Georgia, Armenia explore strategic partnership, regional stability

    13 July 2024 - 14:24

    Border incident reinforces Azerbaijan's stance on Zangazur corridor security

    Post-conflict focus

    13 July 2024 - 14:15

    Azerbaijani Constitutional Court chairman highlights key issues in Armenia-Azerbaijan peace talks

    13 July 2024 - 14:12

    Unexpected victory: Pezeshkian's win signals hope for Iran's future

    Will he be up to expectations?

    13 July 2024 - 14:00

    Azerbaijan-Armenia: Three gradations of accord: Where are we now?

    Contemplations with Orkhan Amashov/VIDEO

    13 July 2024 - 13:48

    Iran’s new president outlines plans for strengthening relations with neighbors

    Achieving regional stability

    13 July 2024 - 13:36

    Chinese, Belarusian troops begin live-fire phase in joint drill

    13 July 2024 - 13:24

    Azerbaijan-Pakistan: Trade under preferential conditions

    Following President Aliyev's visit

    13 July 2024 - 13:18

    UN calls on Russia to withdraw from Europe's largest NPP in Ukraine

    13 July 2024 - 13:12

    Azerbaijan, Montenegro enjoy good traditions of friendship, cooperation - President

    13 July 2024 - 13:02

    French left rejects Macron’s call for unity

    Tensions rise Ahead of 2024 Olympics

    13 July 2024 - 13:00

    Armenia to face CSTO contribution for 2025

    Despite 2024 payment refusal

    13 July 2024 - 12:48

    Azerbaijan-Pakistan forge deeper bonds

    Strengthening centuries-old brotherhood

    13 July 2024 - 12:36

    Russia intercepts drones over Belgorod, Kursk, Rostov regions

    13 July 2024 - 12:24

All news