Making their debut in the general public for the first time, DF-17 missiles join the National Day parade held in Beijing on October 1, 2019. Photo: Zhang Haichao
Photo: Fan Lingzhi/GT
China showcased the new DF-17, a ballistic missile said to be hypersonic with a very high defense penetration capability, for the first time at the National Day parade on Tuesday, with Chinese military expert saying that it is almost impossible to be intercepted by enemies.
DF-17 conventional ballistic missiles were displayed at the event in Tiananmen Square.
The DF-17 is a very recently developed type of short to medium-range missile.
It will play a vital role in safeguarding China's territorial integrity, as regions including the South China Sea, the Taiwan Straits and Northeast Asia are all within its striking range, Yang Chengjun, a Chinese missile expert and quantum defense scientist, told the Global Times, noting that South Korea has been deploying the THAAD air defense system and Japan is fielding SM-3 interceptor missiles, which are security threats to China.
The DF-17 missile features a hypersonic glide vehicle as its warhead, which can travel at 10 times the speed of sound, UK-based media outlet Daily Mail reported in June.
The very high speed leaves enemies with little time to react, military observers noted.
Unlike traditional ballistic missiles, the DF-17 can change its trajectory in mid-flight, giving enemies a minimal chance of intercepting it, Yang said.
If hostile air defense systems like THAAD, SM-3 and Patriot get the chance to capture the DF-17's launch and prepare for its arrival in advance, there is some possibility of interception, but this rarely happens since a launch in actual combat will be done secretly, Yang said.
Other countries have also been developing hypersonic weapons, like the US AGM-183A and Russian Avangard missiles.