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    All you need to know about China’s Hypersonic Missile Technology

    All you need to know about China’s Hypersonic Missile Technology

    All you need to know about China’s Hypersonic Missile Technology
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    By CNBCTV18.com  IST (Published)

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    China is developing new hypersonic missiles that will employ a rotating detonation engine which can propel missiles to five times the speed of sound. It can be used to power planes with better fuel economy in the future.

    As China, Russia, and the US battle to develop hypersonic technology, China has tested a new air-breathing engine during a simulated flight test achieving hypersonic speed. Chinese scientists have been working on hypersonic missile technology for years and as per a report by the Eurasian Times, they have found a breakthrough in creating a hypersonic missile that will use hydrocarbons as fuel and employ a rotating detonation engine.
    China's new hypersonic air-breathing engine
    China’s latest innovation, the rotating detonation engine will reportedly help power a plane or a missile up to five times the speed of sound (6,174 kmph), or maybe even faster. The ground-breaking engine could also provide both velocity and fuel economy in the future.
    The technology behind it
    The rotating detonation engine produces thousands of explosions per second that propel the missile or plane. As per Chinese reports, it is powered by low-cost hydrocarbon fuel explosions and it achieved stable operation during a simulated hypersonic test flight.
    A thin, hollow cylinder (or a hollow space between two concentric cylinders) is the detonation chamber of the engine. The multiple mini explosions take place in a small space between the two metal cylinders that are filled with ethylene or kerosene vapour. Shock waves from the explosions circulate in a spiral pattern through the circular chamber and provide a tremendous thrust as they exit the engine.
    In an article published in Chinese-language Journal of Experiments in Fluid Mechanics, lead author Wang Chao noted that when the engine’s performance was regulated during the latest test flight, “it produced a faintly blue, transparent flame”, the Eurasian Times reported.
    As per the report, computer modelling shows that a spinning detonation engine can produce 50 percent higher fuel efficiency than a jet engine in the future.
    China’s plans for a hypersonic missile that can hit moving targets
    The Chinese scientists are also trying to create a hypersonic weapon that will be capable of hitting a moving target while moving at five times the speed of sound. A team of scientists led by Yang Xiaogang from the PLA Rocket Force University of Engineering in Xian, China, have been tasked to develop the mechanism for the weapon, Wion reported.
    According to a paper published by the team of scientists, such a weapon will need to successfully track and zero in on the target at high speeds and the current thermal tracking systems are incapable of doing that. But they seem to have found a solution by taking the help of motion sensors to create a full image keeping all the variables in mind.
    However, the success of this project will depend on the development and testing of different hardware modifications and sensor technology. As per a South China Morning Post report, Yang and his team have been given a deadline till 2025 to provide the technology for the next generation of hypersonic missiles.
    The hypersonic arms race
    The race to develop the next generation of hypersonic missiles has become fierce in the recent decade. The US, China, Russia, North Korea, and India are leading the race.
    Earlier, the US military tested its hypersonic missile prototype, based on the Hypersonic Air-breathing Weapon Concept (HAWC) that can travel at five times the speed of sound.
    On May 14, a US Air Force B-52H Stratofortress successfully released an AGM-183A Air-launched Rapid Response Weapon, or ARRW, that achieved hypersonic speeds five times greater than the speed of sound.
    China also tested its current YJ-21 hypersonic anti-ship ballistic missile. It test fired the missile from a Type 055 cruisers ship. The characteristics of the missile were unknown. However, if it had hypersonic capabilities then it would make the type 055 cruisers arguably the most heavily armed warships in the world.
    Russia also has hypersonic weapons such as the 3M22 Zircon that can fly at speeds of up to six times the speed of sound. These missiles at low atmospheric-ballistic trajectory have the capability to penetrate traditional anti-missile defence systems including the US’ defence system.
    India, too, has the indigenously built hypersonic weapon Brahmos that was tested in September 2021. India became the fourth country in the world after the US, China, and Russia to develop and test such technology.
     
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