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China tested hypersonic missile vehicle: Pentagon

WASHINGTON -- China for the first time has tested a hypersonic missile vehicle designed to travel several times the speed of sound, the Pentagon said Wednesday.

The test makes China the second country after the United States to conduct experimental flights with hypersonic vehicles, a technology that could allow armies to rapidly strike distant targets anywhere around the globe.

“We're aware of the test of the hypersonic vehicle but we are not commenting on it,” said Lieutenant Colonel Jeff Pool, a Pentagon spokesman.

The flight was conducted on Jan. 9 and the Chinese vehicle, dubbed the WU-14, is supposed to travel at Mach 10, or 10 times the speed of sound, according to a report in The Washington Free Beacon, an online publication.

Chinese state-run broadcaster China Radio International quoted the defense ministry information office as saying: “China's planned domestic scientific research and experiments are normal and are not aimed at any country or target.”

It did not explicitly confirm or deny the test.

In its annual report on the Chinese military, the Pentagon made no mention of hypersonic test flights but did say the Chinese had built a hypersonic wind tunnel for experiments.

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