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China flight tests hypersonic missile vehicle, reports say

China flight-tested a hypersonic missile delivery vehicle capable of going Mach 10 last week, according to multiple media reports.

The Jan. 9 test involved a Chinese flight vehicle called the WU-14, which is supposed to be capable of travelling up to Mach 10, according to the reports.

The ultra high-speed flight test over China was confirmed via the Pentagon by The Washington Free Beacon.

According to Agence France-Presse, the test would make China only the second country after the U.S. to have conducted experimental flights with hypersonic vehicles.

Reuters received a fax confirmation from the Chinese Defense Ministry saying the test was for scientific purposes.

“These tests are not targeted at any country and at any specific goals,” said the release quoted by Reuters.

China has continued its growth in defense budget spending—as much as $215 billion in 2012. While cuts and sequestration have contracted the DOD’s budget, it was still in the $600 billion range last year.

Three members of the House Armed Services Committee issued a joint statement after the hypersonic test by China, saying recent defense cuts have damaged America’s technological advantage.

"The Asia Pacific is fast becoming a powder keg. Allowing nations that do not share our respect for free and open avenues of commerce to gain a strategic advantage over the United States and her allies only brings us closer to lighting the fuse," read the joint statement from HASC Chairman Rep. Howard McKeon (R-Calif.), Rep. Randy Forbes (R-Va.) and Rep. Mike Rogers (R-Ala.).

Mach 10 means 10 times the speed of sound and in the range of 7,680 mph.

news@stripes.com

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