The proliferation risks of hypersonic missiles (Clingendael)

Of all the new military hardware that passed along the stands during the 70th anniversary of the People’s Republic of China in Beijing on 1 October 2019, one of the most scrutinized weapons was the Dong Feng 17 (DF-17) short-range ballistic missile (SRBM) equipped with a hypersonic glide vehicle (HGV). The first hypersonic boostglide weapon system to enter military service worldwide, China’s DF-17 illustrates that these systems are now transitioning from the weapons laboratories to operational inventories. With the development and operational deployment of the DF-17 China has broken the hypersonic glide barrier and started the ball rolling. Additional arms control measures will be needed, and soon, if the proliferation of such advanced systems and its impact on international security are to be managed.

Danny Pronk

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