Footage from Chinese Communist Party-controlled state media has resurfaced that shows the testing of a balloon carrying three hypersonic missiles in 2018.
China’s CCP-run media aired the footage of the high-altitude balloon dropping the missiles onto targets on the ground.
In September 2018, Chinese state broadcaster CCTV reported on the weapons test.
The footage has since been deleted from Chinese media.
However, photographs and short clips can still be found online.
In one post from 2018, a Twitter user shared footage from Douyin, China’s version of TikTok.
The video shows the balloon lifting the three HGVs from the ground.
Screenshots from this Douyin short video. pic.twitter.com/XvhnzMhhY7
— dafeng cao (@dafengcao) September 21, 2018
The black one i.e. D18-2/S using different material featuring cantilever wing is rare in hypersonic configuration design. pic.twitter.com/m6vRJ6Jyub
— dafeng cao (@dafengcao) September 22, 2018
HGVs are generally launched by rockets in a similar manner to traditional missiles.
After reaching orbit, however, HGVs detach from the rocket and fly through the atmosphere using their own momentum.
Such weapons are much faster than other missiles while they are in low orbit, but become much slower upon hitting the dense air of the atmosphere as they have no jets to power them.
The three HGVs dropped by the balloon in the footage appear to have been designed to test this phenomenon.
The balloon-dropped HGVs were part of an effort to develop precision warheads for hypersonic weapons.
Such a development would give the Chinese military an “unstoppable nuclear-capable weapon,” according to the South China Morning Post.