CHINA has unveiled a hypersonic missile which it claims will be able to take out US warships with one hit.
The CM-401 supersonic ballistic anti-ship missile has been on display at the AirShow China 2018 exhibition, which is taking place in the city of Zhuhai.
According to its maker, the missile is capable of travelling at six times the speed of sound and is capable of hypersonic maneuverable flight on its way to a target.
The Chinese and the United States navies have in recent years been involved in a series of tense incidents in the South China Sea.
It has been reported China is looking to even the balance with the more powerful US Navy by using missiles such as the CM-401 to keep the Americans at safe distance in the Pacific.
The missile’s mission is to rapidly and precisely attack medium-to-large sized ships, Chinese newspaper Global Times reported.
According to an unnamed military expert quoted by the paper, it has the capability to destroy a hostile vessel with one hit.
Once it begins its dive from its space trajectory, it is very difficult to intercept because of its hypersonic velocity, the expert claimed.
The China Aerospace Science and Industry Corporation told Jane’s: “The system is intended for rapid and precision strikes against medium-size ships, naval task forces, and offshore facilities.”
China claims an area up to 200 miles from its shore – along what is known as the “Nine Dash Line” – as its territorial waters and has built military bases on islands.
International law says states can claim territorial seas up to a limit of 12 nautical miles and the US and other navies sail regularly sail through the area claimed by China to assert freedom of navigation rights.
Earlier this month a Chinese destroyer almost rammed the USS Decatur, forcing its crew to take evasive action, in an effort to force it to leave the disputed waters.
It was recently reported China’s President Xi Jinping has told his military commanders to “concentrate preparations for fighting a war” as Beijing ramps up fighting talk with the West.
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China Central Television presented a speech from President Xi – who has claimed the position in perpetuity – when he met troops and generals on a tour of Guangzhou province.
He told officers of the Southern Theatre Command: “It’s necessary to strengthen the mission … and concentrate preparations for fighting a war.
“We need to take all complex situations into consideration and make emergency plans accordingly.”