Beijing: China is building a hypersonic aircraft capable of carrying a nuclear warhead and travel at a tremendous speed of 12 kilometers per second, which means it will be able to reach the shores of the United States of America within 14 minutes.
The carrier, which can travel at a speed 35 times the speed of sound, will be tested in ‘wind tunnel’ that China is building, which is set to be the world’s fastest hypersonic facility by the year 2020.
A scientist working on the secretive new wind tunnel spoke to the South China Morning Post and stated that the tunnel will help meet the high demand of China’s hypersonic weapons development programme.
Since 2013, China has conducted seven successful test flights of its hypersonic glider DF-ZF. The vehicles could be used to deliver missiles, including nuclear weapons, to distant targets around the world within minutes of launch, reports DailyMail.
The carrier can travel at speeds Mach 5 and Mach 10, which is around five to ten times the speed of sound.
Dr Zhao Wei, a senior scientist working on China’s secretive new tunnel, told the South China Morning Post that it will be up and running by 2020.
He said the tunnel will help meet the pressing demand of China’s hypersonic weapons development programme.
Many modern wind tunnels in mainland China have been used to help the nation’s military test hypersonic craft in the past few years.
China and the United States of America are involved in a sort of ‘hypersonic race,’ professor Wu Dafang told the SCMP. Dafang, who specialises in hypersonic heat shields, is a researcher at Beihang University in Beijing.
DailyMail reports that the world’s most powerful wind tunnel is the US LENX-X facility in Buffalo, New York, which operates at speeds of 22,000 miles per hour (36,000 km/h).