China says it has developed next-generation hypersonic missiles with heat-seeking technology that may take the US military years to match.
The development has major implications for the countries’ arms race and comes four months after Beijing denied reports it had tested a nuclear-capable hypersonic missile that circled the planet, saying it was a spacecraft.
Now Chinese researchers from the National University of Defence Technology say they have developed technology that allows a hypersonic missile to search for, identify and lock on to a target based on its heat signature when flying at low altitudes where the air is thicker.
This means the hypersonic missiles could hone in on targets including stealth aircraft, aircraft carriers and moving vehicles on the street with unprecedented accuracy and speed, according to research cited by South China Morning Post.
Heat sensing at hypersonic speed is difficult because the pace of the missile itself generates heat that interferes with detection systems.