Chinese Hypersonic Developments (HGVs/HCMs)


ougoah

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Kendall is absolutely right.

"The targets that China is “worried about, that we present” are well addressed with hypersonic weapons" - US carriers and bases in Okinawa, Guam, and Diego Garcia + whatever means of power projection they have inside the rest of Japan and even South Korea.

"There was a “rush” during the Trump administration to develop hypersonics, Kendall noted, but they may not always be the most “cost-effective … tool” for the Air Force. “We don’t have the same targets that [China is] worried about,” he said. “We have to think about what’s most cost-effective for us … [Hypersonic systems are] very expensive compared to conventional weapons" Broadly, he said, the U.S. goal is “having a deterrence that defeats aggression, … whether it’s in Ukraine or … Taiwan, for example.” The “core mission” of adversaries such as China, however, is “to keep us out of their part of the world, or to keep us from intervening,” he said. These are “very different operational requirements.”

This is pretty much 100% candidly expressed truth. Differing objectives from differing adversary strengths respective objectives resulted in the forming of these very different strategies. HGVs are much less useful for the kind of military doctrine the US has pursued since the completion of the second world war and beginning of the cold war. F-14s with Phoenix against Tu-22 and supersonic anti ship missiles.

Chinese expertise and entrenched preference for ceramics made China ignore glass and glass making technologies for long enough to miss out on the microscope and telescope. The US being entrenched in carrier power projection and a new gunboat diplomacy (coupled with post ww2 geopolitics and American means of achieving hegemonic status) resulted in them ignoring weapons that are dedicated to A2AD for a long time. Compare them with the Soviets and all those supersonic anti ship missiles. The Americans just didn't have much use for those kinds of weapons. When they half assed tried hypersonics, they cancelled many programs and didn't see them through because they didn't have the same level of need.
 

ougoah

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It is interesting though that China made a point of revealing that they have managed to make several breakthroughs with hypersonics that allow China to produce them at acceptable prices. This was revealed several months ago iirc and clearly done on purpose to tell the Americans that Chinese hypersonics are a plenty not only in type of weapon (separate classes and platforms) but also the number in service of each type.

If there are many prohibitively costly (time, money, and resource) barriers to weaponising hypersonics en masse, China wanted the US to know it has those barriers solved and attrition isn't an issue. It's not like each hypersonic weapon is going to be like throwing a lamborghini at a building you are aiming to demolish. For the US, the Americans are hinting that this is the case for them. Hypersonics are prohibitively costly in money and time at least if not also resources (tooling and machinery required and worn in the process of manufacturing).
 

clockwork

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This was revealed several months ago
Are you talking about
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That applies only to HCMs (ramjet) not HGVs, though I was hoping it'd let China mass produce IC-HGVs but alas, seems like it'll still be hard to produce those at massive scale.

Maybe China can use it to mass produce an intercontinental HCM like the Burevestnik though, which has the same purpose of defeating US BMD.
 

montyp165

Junior Member
What folks like Kendall miss is that the actions of the US against non-adherents to their ideological and economic control makes it increasingly necessary for those facing the US to move more towards eliminating US global power much as how the Allies had to face down and defeat Nazi Germany. This also means that moves toward making mass-producible and sustainable fire weapon systems including hypersonics would become more prevalent as the incentive for and improving technology drives cost downwards.
 

ougoah

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That applies only to HCMs (ramjet) not HGVs, though I was hoping it'd let China mass produce IC-HGVs but alas, seems like it'll still be hard to produce those at massive scale.

Maybe China can use it to mass produce an intercontinental HCM like the Burevestnik though, which has the same purpose of defeating US BMD.

Yes that's one of the links in English but referring to the same thing.

You're confused about many things. Hypersonics do not use ramjets. They use scramjets or other forms of propulsion that is not clear in the public domain. China says they've built something called a sodramjet. There may be other forms that are never talked about or aren't revealed yet.

I doubt hypersonic air to air to surface to air missiles are going to be boost glide HGV types. They most likely will be air breathing (simple scramjet powered a la tsirkon, DF-100, and HAWC), low hypersonic speeds. The trick the Chinese managed to pull off with a hypersonic anti-air missile (rather than those anti surface ones) is in the seeker and the guidance method used.

Basically China has managed to develop a hypersonic anti-air weapon that operates on some new heat seeking technology which works despite the huge amount of heat created by hypersonic flight. It could have something to do with the other leaks from China where they use a technique that keeps the tip of the missile shrouded in a more agreeable gas and state.

There are two major implications of this. First being the world's first hypersonic missile that is purposed to attack aircraft which suggests a host of other developments to achieve this. Second is the new heat seeker and guidance that works in hypersonic speeds (heat issue) and accurate enough to hit targets moving much faster than ships.

Burevestnik is NOT hypersonic. Not even close. It is a nuclear powered cruise missile with extremely long loiter time and pretty much "unlimited" range.

A hypersonic anti-air weapon is nothing like a hypersonic cruise missile. Hypersonic cruise missiles are not anymore useful than boost glide which are considerably faster and longer ranged. DF-100 is a cruise missile since the definition seems to be that cruise missile means air breathing. I would suggest that HCM are far less useful than boost glide since they typically have much lower range, payload, and speeds and glide already is sort of compensating for propulsion but glide means serious booster is required and therefore very expensive and resource demanding. Combining the two is the objective but at the moment only China has an engine that is potentially able to offer an air breathing vehicle that also rides the hypersonic shockwaves up to mach 20 or thereabouts instead of being a simple scramjet missile that gets to around mach 5.
 

ougoah

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It should also be noted that some HCMs don't glide at all and are simply brute forcing the speed to only very low hypersonic speeds using older scramjet tech can already get you there when combined with any rudimentary rocket stage. There isn't that much preventing any nation from developing hypersonic missiles whether something like a Kinzhal or scramjet powered Tsirkon. The difficulty in hypersonics is HGV - glide types because they are boosted to considerably higher speeds instead of mach 7 or so and then sustained by scramjet, glide vehicles are sustained by their aerodynamics.

It's quite inconceivable that China is using anything but newer generations of rocket or rocket + scramjet for anti-air hypersonic missiles due to resource intensiveness of HGVs. Therefore any hypersonic anti-air missile might just be a scramjet powered one (with rocket boost) or identical to the more conventional SAMs but with propulsion that allows them to go beyond mach 5 and sustained until it reaches target. Typical SAMs around the world now already get boosted to well above mach 3 before booster fuel is depleted.
 

Suetham

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Combining the two is the objective but at the moment only China has an engine that is potentially able to offer an air breathing vehicle that also rides the hypersonic shockwaves up to mach 20 or thereabouts instead of being a simple scramjet missile that gets to around mach 5.
I didn't understand very well. Are you saying that the Chinese are trying to combine the air breathing of the HCM with the aerodynamics of the HGV in a single missile?
 

ougoah

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I didn't understand very well. Are you saying that the Chinese are trying to combine the air breathing of the HCM with the aerodynamics of the HGV in a single missile?

I'm saying that from what we know, there are two separate general types - scramjet powered ones like DF-100, HAWC, Tsirkon with speeds of around mach 5 or to scramjet limits, and the DF-ZF, Avangard, and DARPA types which are boost glide whether boosted by MRBM boosters or ICBM boosters. These typically have far greater speeds depending on the booster.

There isn't an engine around at the moment except for China's sodramjet that could potentially be used on the second group. If there are any in the US and there are others in China, both are keeping them very quiet. The aim is to sustain the extremely high speeds of HGV and sustain them for much longer ranges than the already long ranges.

With China's recent hypersonic flight that flew within the atmosphere and around the earth, the Chinese may have such an engine or several propulsion solutions that allows a high hypersonic craft to sustain high speed throughout extremely long, intercontinental ranges. Something DF-ZF isn't doing unless it is also powered by sustained propulsion.
 

ougoah

Brigadier
Registered Member
It should also be noted that some HCMs don't glide at all and are simply brute forcing the speed to only very low hypersonic speeds using older scramjet tech can already get you there when combined with any rudimentary rocket stage. There isn't that much preventing any nation from developing hypersonic missiles whether something like a Kinzhal or scramjet powered Tsirkon. The difficulty in hypersonics is HGV - glide types because they are boosted to considerably higher speeds instead of mach 7 or so and then sustained by scramjet, glide vehicles are sustained by their aerodynamics.

It's quite inconceivable that China is using anything but newer generations of rocket or rocket + scramjet for anti-air hypersonic missiles due to resource intensiveness of HGVs. Therefore any hypersonic anti-air missile might just be a scramjet powered one (with rocket boost) or identical to the more conventional SAMs but with propulsion that allows them to go beyond mach 5 and sustained until it reaches target. Typical SAMs around the world now already get boosted to well above mach 3 before booster fuel is depleted.

To make a point with an example.

The R-37M is stated as a hypersonic air to air missile. It is in every way the same on principles to any other long range air to air missile. It is just boosted a bit more and breaks Mach 5. The issue with considering it as a "hypersonic" missile is the same as calling a German V-2 from 1940s a hypersonic weapon (it is technically!) and the R-37M reduces in speed to well below Mach 5 towards the tail end of its effective range.

This supposed hypersonic anti-air missile mentioned by SCMP is definitely operating under different principles. It probably sustains hypersonic flight so it's most likely a scramjet powered air to air/ surface to air missile that gets boosted by a rocket stage to >mach 5 and the scramjet sustains it. R-37M's rocket booster pushes it to >mach 5 and then drag takes over to slow it down as no more propulsion to sustain that hypersonic speed. What's actually interesting about this missile is the seeker.
 

Hyper

Junior Member
Registered Member
To make a point with an example.

The R-37M is stated as a hypersonic air to air missile. It is in every way the same on principles to any other long range air to air missile. It is just boosted a bit more and breaks Mach 5. The issue with considering it as a "hypersonic" missile is the same as calling a German V-2 from 1940s a hypersonic weapon (it is technically!) and the R-37M reduces in speed to well below Mach 5 towards the tail end of its effective range.

This supposed hypersonic anti-air missile mentioned by SCMP is definitely operating under different principles. It probably sustains hypersonic flight so it's most likely a scramjet powered air to air/ surface to air missile that gets boosted by a rocket stage to >mach 5 and the scramjet sustains it. R-37M's rocket booster pushes it to >mach 5 and then drag takes over to slow it down as no more propulsion to sustain that hypersonic speed. What's actually interesting about this missile is the seeker.
Yes a similar technique is used in certain cameras. It's amazing to see how such simple ideas are applied in such sophisticated systems.
 

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