China has reportedly conducted the maiden flight of a new hypersonic test vehicle, achieving speeds of Mach 5.5 for over six minutes, and reaching Mach 6, the newspaper Global Times reported, citing a statement released by the China Academy of Aerospace Aerodynamics.
The Xingkong-2, 2, waverider flies in the atmosphere and uses shockwaves generated after it breaks the sound barrier to glide at hypersonic speeds.
Launched in a rocket at a target range in north western China on Friday, the Xingkong-2 (Starry Sky-2) executed a number of manoeuvres at an altitude of 30 kilometres (18.6 miles) before landing in a designated area 10 minutes later. The test of the unmanned system, took place in North-western China, reports the official China Daily newspaper.
There will be more tests of the waverider before it is handed over to the Chinese armed forces.
The current generation of anti-missile defence systems is mainly designed to intercept cruise and ballistic missiles, which are either slower or easier to predict, making them possible to intercept, while the trajectory of a waverider is relatively unpredictable and flies so fast that it poses an extreme challenge to existing anti-missile defence systems.