France joins race to develop ‘hypersonic’ weapons, after China, Russia and US

January 29, 2019

South China Morning Post:

World powers are vying to develop so-called “hypersonic” weapons that travel several times the speed of sound, with France the latest to join a field led so far by Russia and China.

Hypersonics are like missiles that travel at over five times the speed of sound (Mach 5) but are able to manoeuvre in mid-flight, making them much harder to track and intercept than traditional projectiles.

France is the fourth of the five permanent UN Security Council members to join the so-called “stealth by speed” contest, after China, Russia and the United States.

“We have decided to issue a contract for a hypersonic glider” that can travel at over 6,000km/h, Defence Minister Florence Parly said last week, promising a test flight by the end of 2021.

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