China's New Nuclear Hypersonic Missile Can Penetrate US Defenses, Says Leaked Pentagon Document

China has tested a new hypersonic nuclear-capable missile, and the projectile can potentially penetrate the US defenses, according to a leaked Pentagon document.

The Pentagon files allegedly leaked by Jack Teixeira include a deeply troubling report about China's hypersonic missile program, and the revelation that a new missile believed to be capable of evading U.S. defenses has been successfully tested.

hypersonic missile
Representative image Wikimedia Commons

Pentagon Leak

According to a top-secret report filed by the Joint Chiefs of Staff intelligence directorate in February, China successfully tested a new hypersonic missile that month. The missile, codenamed DF-27 was an intermediate-range ballistic missile part of the Dongfeng series. These missiles are capable of delivering nuclear warheads and the DF-27 was seen capable of evading US defenses, the report said, according to the Daily Mail.

The February 28 memo was part of the highly sensitive Pentagon documents leaked by Jack Teixeira, the 21-year-old National Guard member who was arrested by the FBI on Thursday.

The memo said China's People's Liberation Army deployed versions of the new missile that can attack land targets and ships, the Mail report added.

Hypersonic Missiles

Hypersonic missiles, which are defined as anything travelling beyond Mach 5, are harder to track than conventional missiles. At Mach 5 speeds, which are five times faster than the speed of sound, the hypersonic missile travels at about 6,100 km per hour. Though Intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBM) travels at higher speeds their paths are predictable

China missile test
China missile test Twitter

Countering China

The Pentagon last year said it was spending $1.3 billion for the development of advanced satellites that can track hypersonic missile threats from adversaries like China. The US defense department said it aimed to put the high-end tracking satellites in orbit by 2025. The US move comes in the wake of the advancements China and Russia have made in its hypersonic missile technology.

The Financial Times reported earlier that China tested a nuclear-capable hypersonic missile in a bid to demonstrate its advanced space capability. "Chinese military launched a rocket that carried a hypersonic glide vehicle which flew through low-orbit space before cruising down towards its target," the report had said.

Last year, another report said the US lags behind India, China and Russia in hypersonic missile technology. Senator Jack Reed, Chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, said during a nomination hearing on Wednesday that the US is in a situation where it needs technological improvements as it has lost its dominance in advanced technologies while China, Russia and India have advantages over it.

Jack Teixeira Arrested

Jack Teixeira
Jack Teixeira Twitter

The FBI arrested the Massachusetts Air National Guardsman after identifying him as the leader of a Discord group where a trove of secret US intelligence documents was leaked online. Jack Teixeira, 21, who is believed to be the source of the largest American intelligence leak in almost a decade, arrested at his home Thursday. He was a member of the intelligence branch of Massachusetts Air National Guard's and the leader of an internet chat group where top-secret Pentagon documents were leaked.