China’s Hypersonic weapon project has underpowered supercomputer

A supercomputer used by China to develop a hypersonic space weapon was too slow, having a processing speed only a tenth of that of its American counterpart, according to a researcher involved in the highly sensitive project.

While China possesses some of the world’s most powerful computers, Ye Youda, researcher at the state laboratory of aerodynamics in Mianyang, Sichuan and a key scientist on the hypersonic weapon project, complained about a shortage of computing power in a paper in the latest issue of the Chinese Science Bulletin.

Ye said the computer used in China’s hypersonic project would need to increase its performance 10 times to match its U.S counterpart, the Pleiades supercomputer at NASA. The US machine did not even make the latest top ten list of world ranking by website, which compiles statistics on the world’s supercomputers.

Hypersonic weapons are one of the most important military research projects in China, which joined the hypersonic arms race relatively late but is making rapid progress. Despite Ye’s complaint however, the military conducted a third test flight of a hypersonic weapon system last December.

At hypersonic speeds, a missile or delivery vehicle could travel up to 10 times the speed of sound to reach anywhere in the world within an hour. Most defence systems would not be able to intercept an object at such a high speed.

SOURCE – South China Morning Post