Meanwhile, in August 2021, China tested a “very fast” missile – it was a new combination of a hypersonic glide vehicle and a fractional orbital bombardment system (FOBS) that can place weapons in low Earth orbit for as long as the user determines and then de-orbit. The country has also tested anti-satellite concepts and directed energy weapons such as lasers.
The chief of U.S. Strategic Command, Admiral Charles Richard, China successfully tested the hypersonic capability, which was “never before seen in the world”. Earlier this month, Richard had spoken at the Space and Missile Defense Symposium, stating that the military must overhaul its missile defenses and develop systems to better warn against launches aimed at the U.S.
Evidence is yet to go public
Though several senior defense officials confirmed that the Russian and Chinese FOBS and space-to-ground weapons test took place, the Pentagon hasn’t made the evidence public.
“Clearly, the Russians and Chinese are trying to develop systems to get around the missile defense systems the U.S. has been developing,” said Kaitlyn Johnson, deputy director of the Aerospace Security Project at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. “It’s hard to evaluate what that is from the public side of things, what that’s entailed. I imagine that’s what this meeting is about.”