• Thu. Apr 18th, 2024
China tested hypersonic glide vehicles dropped from a balloon in 2018, according to Chinese state broadcaster CCTV. (Screenshot via Chinese social media)

In 2018, Chinese state-owned television released footage of a high-altitude balloon delivering powerful hypersonic weaponry.

The footage shows a Chinese high-altitude balloon similar to the one that floated across the United States last week, fitted three hypersonic glide vehicles (HGVs) into high altitude and dropping them for testing.

In September 2018, the Chinese state broadcaster CCTV reported on a weapons test. Although footage was deleted from their media platforms, photographs and snippets can still be accessed via the Internet.

A 2018 tweet from a user showcased incredible footage of three HGVs being lifted off the ground by air balloons via Douyin, China’s popular version of TikTok.

Screenshots from this Douyin short video. pic.twitter.com/XvhnzMhhY7
— dafeng cao (@dafengcao) September 21, 2018

Rockets are typically used to launch HGVs into space, much like traditional missiles. Once they reach orbit though, the HGVs separate from their rocket and navigate Earth’s atmosphere using their own energy.

Compared to other missiles, these weapons move swiftly in low orbit. But once they enter the atmosphere’s dense air, their progress slows significantly since there is no propulsion system to keep them going. The three HGVs seen in the video footage appeared to be created with the purpose of testing this phenomenon.

The balloon-dropped HGVs were part of an effort to develop precision warheads for hypersonic weapons, which would give the Chinese military an “unstoppable nuclear-capable weapon,” according to the South China Morning Post. These HGV’s are capable of reaching speeds up to Mach 5, and with a 500kg payload, they could travel more than 12000km.

Rockets are typically used to launch HGVs into space, much like traditional missiles. Once they reach orbit though, the HGVs separate from their rocket and navigate Earth’s atmosphere using their own energy.

Compared to other missiles, these weapons move swiftly in low orbit. But once they enter the atmosphere’s dense air, their progress slows significantly since there is no propulsion system to keep them going.The three HGVs seen in the video footage appeared to be created with the purpose of testing this phenomenon.

The balloon-dropped HGVs were part of an effort to develop precision warheads for hypersonic weapons, which would give the Chinese military an “unstoppable nuclear-capable weapon,” according to the South China Morning Post. These HGV’s are capable of reaching speeds up to Mach 5, and with a 500kg payload, they could travel more than 12000km.

Balloons One Part of China’s War Preparations

Paul Crespo, president of the Center for American Defense Studies, warns that this week’s balloon traversing US airspace could “absolutely” be a test run for an offensive attack with a weapon attached to it. However, he believes hypersonic missiles would not likely be chosen as China’s communist regime’s first option.

“While China has tested hypersonic missiles launched from balloons in the past, that isn’t a likely use for these airships,” Crespo told The Epoch Times in an email. “The biggest threat is sending one or more of these high altitude balloons over the U.S. with a small nuclear EMP (Electro Magnetic Pulse) device.”

“Detonated at extremely high altitude, they could knock out power and communications across the US, wreaking widespread havoc for a year or more without firing a shot on the ground.”

Despite Crespo’s doubts that balloon-dropped hypersonics would take part in any nuclear conflict, the HGVs glimpsed in the footage may have been a catalyst for China’s clandestine trials of their own hypersonic weapons system in 2021.

According to then-Vice Chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. John Hyten, this system seemed designed for a nuclear strike against our country as its first use.

“They look like a first-use weapon,” Hyten said.

“The pace [China is] moving and the trajectory that they’re on will surpass Russia and the United States if we don’t do something to change it.”

Communist China is only one of many countries inventing new strategies for using high-altitude balloons as a form of warfare.

The United States has been researching and testing the use of balloons for deploying swarms of explosive-laden suicide drones since at least 2018.

The Pentagon is investing hundreds of millions of dollars into high-altitude balloons to be used for surveillance and, most notably, tracking the Chinese Communist Party’s hypersonic arsenal. This will ensure that America remains safe from any potential threats or attacks.

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