Part of: Prelims and GS II – International Relations and GS III – Sci and tech
Context North Korea has successfully tested a new hypersonic glide missile.
What is a hypersonic missile?
- Hypersonics are defined as being able to travel at velocities of at least five times the speed of sound — Mach 5, or more than 6,100 kilometres (3,800 miles) per hour.
- They can also manoeuvre in mid-flight, making them much harder to track and intercept than traditional projectiles.
- By cutting flight times, they also reduce the opportunity to respond.
- Depending on the design, they can be capable of carrying nuclear warheads or conventional only, and have the potential to alter the strategic balance.
Which countries possess them?
- Russia, USA and China
- Russia is generally seen as the world leader in technology so far, developing a range of new hypersonic weapons that
- In July it successfully tested the Zircon, a ship-launched hypersonic missile travelling at seven times the speed of sound.
- It already has Avangard hypersonic glide vehicles and the air-launched Kinzhal (Dagger) missiles in its arsenal.