You are here

Vasudhar Padma asked: Is the Chinese hypersonic development only directed towards the West? If not, what deterrence does India have?

  • Share
  • Tweet
  • Email
  • Whatsapp
  • Linkedin
  • Print
  • Ajey Lele replies: The main focus of Chinese hypersonic development is definitely the West. However, India needs to be careful since such capabilities can always come in handy for China if it decides to use them against India. Only recently, China has successfully tested its Hypersonic Glide Vehicle (HGV). Earlier, during 2014–16, China had carried out six successful tests of DF-ZF, a hypersonic missile delivery vehicle. In 2018, China had tested three different designs of scaled-down hypersonic aircraft. 

    Missile defence systems like S-400 are not capable of handling hypersonic threats. India needs to invest in developing missile defence systems to address such threats. At present, states like the United States are developing such missile defence systems and it may take some more years to have systems capable of addressing the hypersonic threat. India also has its own hypersonic programme and has tested a Hypersonic Technology Demonstrator Vehicle (HSTDV) using an indigenously developed scramjet propulsion system. It is an important step towards developing hypersonic delivery systems. BrahMos II, a hypersonic cruise missile, is currently under development and is expected to become operational between 2025 and 2028.

    For more on the subject, please refer to my following MP-IDSA publication:

    Ajey Lele, “Hypersonic Weapons”, Occasional Paper No 46, MP-IDSA, July 2017.

    Posted on 8 March 2022

    Views expressed are of the expert and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Manohar Parrikar IDSA or the Government of India.