MOSCOW, August 22 (RIA Novosti) - A Chinese hypersonic vehicle designed to deliver nuclear weapons at high speeds failed in its second test launch, the South China Morning Post reported.
"It's necessary for China to boost its missile capabilities, because the PLA's [People’s Liberation Army] weapons are weaker than the US' shields, which are deployed everywhere in the world," Xudong Wang, a satellite adviser to China’s central government, was quoted as saying by the South China Morning Post.
"All missiles launched by the PLA, if there was a military conflict, would be intercepted by the US' defense systems before entering the atmosphere,” Wang added.
The vehicle, dubbed the WU-14 by the Pentagon, was launched in Shanxi province on August 7, breaking apart soon afterwards.
The first test carried out by China’s People’s Liberation Army on January 9, was successful according to the National Defense Ministry.
The newest model is carried by a ballistic missile and then released, causing it to dive towards its target at speeds of up to Mach 10, equivalent to over 12,000 km per hour.
The United States is the only other nation developing a similar technology, and invested in further development in June, according to US media reports.
"The WU-14 will become China's global strike weapon that would cause a great threat and challenges to the US,” said Professor Arthur Shu-fan Ding, the secretary general of the Taipei-based Chinese Council of Advanced Policy Studies.
A successful model of the vehicle would boost China’s defense, and possibly render existing US missile-defense systems obsolete, according to the professor. China currently has approximately 100 teams of experts working on the project, a hypersonic expert told the South China Morning Post.
In 2013 China invested over $145 billion in military projects.