The rapid development of hypersonic technologies is quickly reshaping the global arms landscape, with China emerging as a frontrunner in this field. Over the past year, Beijing has unveiled two new hypersonic weapons from its arsenal: the DF-27 and an air-launched variant of the YJ-21, positioning itself as a global leader in hypersonic capabilities.
This development has spurred a race among nations, notably the United States and Russia, to catch up with China’s advancements in hypersonic weaponry. As these hypersonic systems promise numerous advantages over traditional ballistic missiles, the international community is witnessing a surge in interest in the acquisition and development of these cutting-edge technologies, particularly Hypersonic Glide Vehicles (HGVs) and Hypersonic Cruise Missiles (HCMs).
However, in the midst of this technological arms race, a fundamental question arises: How will the proliferation of hypersonic capabilities reshape the dynamics of global military power and strategic balance?
China’s Hypersonic Dominance
According to news reports, China’s recent achievements in hypersonic technologies reflect its ambition and growing technological prowess. In July last year, the successful test flight of the Feitian 1 hypersonic air vehicle powered by a kerosene-fueled combined-cycle engine marked a significant milestone. Furthermore, Beijing’s display of the H-6K bomber carrying the YJ-21 variant, armed with two YJ-12 supersonic anti-ship missiles and two YJ-21s, demonstrated the nation’s commitment to developing versatile and lethal hypersonic weapons.