China’s test of a globe-circling hypersonic weapon in July included the unprecedented launch of a separate missile from the ultra-high-speed vehicle, according to the Financial Times and Wall Street Journal.
The test showed China’s development of its strategic, nuclear-capable weapons as more advanced than any had thought, surprising Pentagon officials, the two newspapers say.
Neither the United States nor Russia has demonstrated the same ability, which requires launching a missile from a parent vehicle traveling five times the speed of sound.
The Financial Times, which first reported the test over the weekend, says US military experts are trying to understand how China mastered the technology, which puts them in advance of rivals in the hypersonic arms race.
The Wall Street Journal confirms the report Monday.
The July 27 Chinese hypersonic test alone had already stunned Western officials.