Beijing: The China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation (CASC) has announced that they have successfully developed a hypersonic ramjet engine after a series of tests that was carried out by the Chinese agency.
Hypersonic engines, that could potentially be attached to Chinese Air Force fighters such as the Chengdu J-10 or the Shenyang J-11, could reach speeds as far as 6200 km/h and can be attached to air to air missiles which would give the Chinese Air Force a major tactical advance over other fighter jets in the field as well as ensuring that any missile travelling at this speed would be impervious to any existing missile defence systems.
Pictured is the X-51A Waverider, an American example of the technology.
Reports are suggesting that China has chosen to focus on utilising solid fuels that are considered more stable and eliminate the time consuming process of fuelling them meaning that they could be utilised in a rapid deployment situation. The new engines could also improve the range of the existing 100km weapons that are in the Chinese arsenal and increase that to 320km which could also potentially eliminate any no-kill zones and make opposing forces in fighter jets to be severely disadvantaged. Six of these missiles could be coming to China’s new J-20 and J-31 stealth fighters that have deployed this year.
Combined with the long-range sensor networks that are incorporated within the stealth fighters, Chinese fighters would have a major tactical advantage and would have the ability to reach far behind the front lines to destroy vital support aircraft such radar systems or potentially air bases.
Whilst the Chinese military has developed such engine systems, they will be working to also develop super range detection network of sensors to support such aircraft equipped with hypersonic engines as well as enhancing the capability of air to surface and surface to surface missiles with such engines.
With rising concerns in the South China Sea, an increase in the arms build-up on the Chinese front, a new generation of stealth fighter jets and anti-ship missiles, the development and implementation of such a weapon could potentially pose a bigger security risk to neighbouring countries – that is once the engine is fitted to fighter jets and has undergone testing in a manned aircraft capacity.