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China achieves breakthrough in defense against hypersonic missiles

  • Hypersonic weapons move at least five times the speed of sound (Mach 5) , i.e. at least 6,175 km/h and can therefore not be shot down with conventional defense systems
  • Chinese scientists have now made a breakthrough in researching a hypersonic missile defense system

China is developing a new defense system capable of neutralizing hypersonic aircraft and missiles despite their high speed.


Shanghai (China). Hypersonic speed ( hypersonic ) in aerospace refers to supersonic speeds above five times the speed of sound (Mach 5), i.e. at least 6,175 km/h. Hypersonic missiles that fly at 1,715 m/h in air at 20 degrees Celsius or more cannot be shot down with conventional defense systems because of their enormous speed.

Scientists from the Shanghai Institute of Mechanical and Electrical Engineering have now made a breakthrough in researching a hypersonic missile defense system, South China Morning Post ( SCMP ) reports. Yin Zhongjie’s team has developed multi-purpose aircraft that can fly at Mach 5 over long distances.


Early warning satellites and ground radar stations

In order to protect China from attacks with hypersonic weapons, early warning satellites and ground radar stations should alert this defense system in an emergency. Then the trajectory of the enemy hypersonic aircraft or missile is predicted and the new aircraft neutralizes the threat with a projectile. After that, it can fly back to its base and be used again.

Hypersonic is a math problem

According to the Chinese scientists, the calculation of the trajectory is particularly problematic when implementing the concept. Existing algorithms for aircraft and missile interception have been developed for conventional weapons , which travel much slower than hypersonic. If the trajectory of the hypersonic defense system is calculated using these methods, the hypersonic aircraft may crash.


Because the calculation of the hypersonic trajectories is so complex and their characteristics differ greatly from conventional aircraft, this cannot be done with the interceptor’s on-board computer. The researchers therefore have to find a method with which the calculation of the hypersonic trajectory can be done in advance or greatly simplified by algorithms.

Hypersonic Defense System almost on target

According to a computer simulation, their algorithm, which is based on a doctoral thesis by David Benson of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), can lead the new defense system to within 6.8 kilometers of a flying hypersonic weapon. The algorithm therefore only needs minor optimizations to protect China from enemy hypersonic weapons.

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