China Could Launch a Surprise Nuclear Attack, Warns Top US General

China could launch a surprise nuclear attack on the US, claims vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General John Hyten. The US General also asserts that China has more advanced hypersonic technology.

According to CBS News, Hyten, the second-highest-ranking military officer in the US, noted that China was able to send a missile around the world at five times the speed of sound during the last summer's hypersonic weapons test.

"It went around the world, dropped off a hypersonic glide vehicle that glided all the way back to China, that impacted a target in China," Hyten told the station. "From a technology perspective, it's pretty impressive." He then added that the US needed to take China's missile test 'more seriously.'

China is understood to have tested a hypersonic orbital nuke twice, first on July 27 and then on August 13 this year. According to the DailyMail, it is believed that the said 'weapon' is an updated version of a Soviet concept called a 'Fractional Orbital Bombardment System' (FOBS). It is capable of evading powerful US radar systems and anti-missile defenses making it harder to spot, track and destroy.

London nuclear attack
Representational Image Representational Picture: London has fallen movie

China's missile technology 'defies the laws of Physics'

The technology used in China's new 'weapon' appears to be superior to anything in American weaponry as the system is said to 'defy the laws of Physics'. CBS reports that China has been working on hypersonic weapons instead of the usual intercontinental ballistic missiles. Ballistic missiles travel in a predictable arc and can be tracked by radars. Hypersonic weapons, on the other hand, are difficult for the radars to track as they travel much closer to the planet's surface.

Hypersonic missiles
Besides Russia and the U.S., China and India also possess hypersonic missiles that can reach the target in minutes Wikimedia Commons

'Peaceful civilian spacecraft'

Hyten called them "first-use weapons" and said he believes China might one day use the technology to launch a surprise nuclear attack on the US. China, on the other hand, acknowledged one of the missile tests but termed it as the launch of a "peaceful civilian spacecraft." Hyten then told CBS that even the US is working to develop weapons based on similar technology but at a 'much slower pace'. The White House and the US Department of Defense have declined to confirm or deny the existence of any hypersonic weapons tests.

John Hyten
John Hyten Screen grab - CBS

"What you need to be worried about is that in the last five years, or maybe longer, the United States has done nine hypersonic missile tests, and in the same time the Chinese have done hundreds," Hyten said last month during a Defense Writers Group roundtable. "The pace they're moving and the trajectory they're on will surpass Russia and the United States if we don't do something to change it," he added.