Adm. Cecil D. Haney, the commander in charge of nuclear forces, said the tests are part of a worrying military buildup by China, which also includes China’s aggressive activities in the South China Sea.
“China continues to make significant military investments in their nuclear and conventional capabilities, with their stated goal being that of defending Chinese sovereignty,” Haney said during a speech to the Center for Strategic and International Studies.
The congressional U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission stated in its latest annual report that the hypersonic glide vehicle program is “progressing rapidly” and the weapon could be deployed by 2020.
China also is building a powered version of the high-speed vehicle that could be fielded by 2025.
“The very high speeds of these weapons, combined with their maneuverability and ability to travel at lower, radar-evading altitudes, would make them far less vulnerable than existing missiles to current missile defenses,” the commission stated.