China to Win Hypersonic Arms Race? Scientists Work on Missile That Can Hit Moving Targets at High Speed

This new heat-seeking hypersonic missile is designed to hit high-speed moving targets from a long distance.

China is eying a win against the West by registering another feat in the hypersonic arms race. Chinese scientists are developing a heat-seeking hypersonic weapon powerful enough to hit moving targets at five times the speed of sound, according to reports. The innovation is the result of the Chinese researchers attempting to find a solution of the problems of tracking high-speed moving targets.

Led by Yang Xiaogang from the PLA Rocket Force University of Engineering in Xian, the research team was assigned a deadline of 2025 to devise solutions of complex challenges of hypersonic technology. Deeming the innovation as "important progress", Yang explained that this new-heat seeking technology will allow the Chinese military to target enemies from a much longer distance with exceptional speed.

China Hypersonic missile

According to Yang, a traditional heat-seeker reviews the images produced via infrared sensors per frame but challenges emerge when the Mach 5 threshold is crossed. It becomes difficult for the computer to recognize a consistent pattern as the target is constantly on the move and there is a vast difference between two adjoining frames, as reported by South China Morning Post.

Equipped with motion sensors, this hypersonic missile will make the identification of the moving target much faster and smoother by creating a full image that incorporates all the necessary variables.

In their published work, the researchers described that the missile will utilize the data gathered by the motion sensors to adjust each pixel to ensure that most elements such as the lighting, size or viewing angle match those in the previous shots.

China flag

"This calibration technology is complex, but produces a considerably clearer, more stable background that makes the target stand out sharply," the team said.

Originally hypersonic weapons were developed with an aim to focus on air defence systems and attack stable targets on the ground but in the past few years China has made remarkable progress in identifying and tackling the problems of combating against moving targets. An example being the setting up of a model aircraft carrier in the Gobi Desert.

According to Wion news, the researchers believe that the success rate of this project relies mostly on the further development and testing of many hardware modifications coupled with sensor technology.

The research findings were published in Infrared and Laser Engineering, a Chinese peer-reviewed scientific journal.