China has displayed its new DF-17 Hypersonic Glide Vehicle (HGV)-equipped medium-range ballistic missile (MRBM) at the military parade celebrating the 70th anniversary of the foundation of the People’s Republic of China (PRC).
The DF-17 is China’s first MRBM equipped with a hypersonic glide vehicle (HGV) an is being developed by China Aerospace Science and Industry Corporation (CASIC). The HGV payload was reportedly designed specifically for the DF-17.
The HGV-equipped missile is reportedly capable of executing evasive manoeuvres at superfast speeds to evade existing missile defense systems.
China conducted two tests of the DF-17 missile in 2017, with the first test taking place on November 1 and the second test on Nov. 15.
During the first test flight, which took place from the Jiuquan Space Launcher Center in Inner Mongolia, the missile’s payload flew to a range of approximately 1,400 kilometres with the HGV flying at a depressed altitude of around 60 kilometres following the completion of the DF-17’s ballistic and reentry phases.
The HGV powered flight reportely lasted 11 minutes before a successful impact at a site in the Xinjiang Province, which was just meters away from the actual target.
According to the assessments made by U.S. intelligence, the DF-17 is a medium-range system that has a range between 1,800-2,500 km (1,118-1,553 miles). The DF-17 is reportedly heavily based on the People’s Liberation Army Rocket Force (PLARF)’s DF-16B short-range ballistic missile (SRBM), which is already deployed.
The missile is believed to have the capability to deliver both nuclear and conventional payloads and could also be designed to deliver a Maneuverable Re-entry Vehicle (MaRV) instead of an HGV.
In addition to China, the United States and Russia are also developing hypersonic glider technology, but neither country is known to have flight-tested a system in a configuration intended for operational deployment to date.