China on Monday announced that it has successfully tested its first cutting-edge hypersonic aircraft which could carry nuclear warheads and penetrate any current generation anti-missile defence systems. The Xingkong-2 or Starry Sky-2, was launched in a target range located in Northwest China on Friday last, the state-run China Academy of Aerospace Aerodynamics (CAAA) said in a statement.
The United States and Russia have been carrying out similar experiments.
Launched in a rocket, China’s waverider was released in the air after about 10 minutes. It flew independently, made large-angle turning maneuvers, and landed in the targeted area as planned, the statement said.
The flight vehicle reached 30 kms in altitude at Mach 5.5-6, the statement quoted by the official media today said.
The hypersonic aircraft was designed by the CAAA in collaboration with the China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation.
Waverider is a flight vehicle that flies in the atmosphere and uses shockwaves generated by its own hypersonic flight with the air to glide at high speed, Song Zhongping, a military expert told state-run Global Times.
Various parameters were proved and the flight vehicle was fully recovered, which marks the successful launch of Xingkong-2 and the first flight of a Chinese waverider, the statement said.
“Announcing the successful test to the public indicates that China must have already made a technological breakthrough with the weapon,” Mr. Song said.
The waverider is expected to be tested more frequently in future before being handed over for deployment to the People’s Liberation Army, he said.
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, he said.
But the trajectory of a waverider is relatively unpredictable in the glide and it flies so fast that it poses an extreme challenge to current anti-missile defense systems, Mr. Song said.
Any rocket has the potential of launching a waverider, and the waverider can carry both conventional and nuclear warheads, Mr. Song said.
“The test showed that China is advancing shoulder-to-shoulder with the U.S. and Russia,” Mr. Song said.
In addition to its military use, the hypersonic flight vehicle may also see civil use in the future, an unnamed military expert, told the Global Times.
“If the hypersonic technology matures, it may see other applications including industrial transport,” the expert said.
China whose defence budget this year amounted to $175 billion is investing heavily in defence research and development to catch-up with U.S., Russia and European Union.
China launches exascale supercomputer prototype ::
China on Sunday put into operation a prototype exascale computing machine, the next-generation supercomputer, according to the developers.
The Sunway exascale computer prototype was developed by the National Research Center of Parallel Computer Engineering and Technology (NRCPC), the National Supercomputing Center in Jinan, east China’s Shandong Province, and the Pilot National Laboratory for Marine Science and Technology (Qingdao).
The NRCPC led the team that developed Sunway TaihuLight, crowned the world’s fastest computer two years in a row at both the 2016 and 2017 International Supercomputing Conferences held in Frankfurt, Germany.
“The Sunway exascale computer prototype is very much like a concept car that can run on road,”said Yang Meihong, director of the National Supercomputing Center in Jinan.
“We expect to build the exascale computer in the second half of 2020 or the first half of 2021,” said Yang.
Another prototype exascale supercomputer Tianhe-3 passed the acceptance tests on July 22. Its final version is expected to come out in 2020.
The two prototypes marked a further step towards China’s successful development of the next-generation supercomputer.
Supercomputers are changing people’s life in fields such as weather forecast, calculation of ocean currents, financial data analysis, high-end equipment manufacturing, and car collision simulation, said Pan Jingshan, deputy director of the National Supercomputing Center in Jinan.
Pan said the new-generation supercomputers will provide strong support to scientific research in more fields.
An exascale computer is able to execute a quintillion calculations per second. In China, prototypes are being developed by three teams led by the NRCPC, Dawning Information Industry C. (Sogon), and National University of Defense Technology (NUDT).
The United States and Japan are also speeding up the development of the exascale supercomputer, expecting to unveil it in as early as 2021.
SOURCE : THE HINDU