China Develops New Wind Tunnel for Hypersonic Weapons Testing

  • Our Bureau
  • 05:43 AM, November 22, 2021
  • 1356
China Develops New Wind Tunnel for Hypersonic Weapons Testing
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China’s Aerodynamics Research Institute under the state-owned Aviation Industry Corp of China (AVIC) has completed development of a new one-meter-class hypersonic aerodynamic wind tunnel.

The FL-64 tunnel recently passed air flow distribution calibration tests under major Mach numbers. This development means that the wind tunnel has successfully passed the first phase of calibration, and has formally become capable of conducting tests for development projects, AVIC announced on its official WeChat account on Sunday.

The development of the FL-64 took two years, and broke the construction speed record compared with similar facilities, Chinese media reported citing AVIC, noting that the wind tunnel is a large and complex one, and its construction was challenging due to the requirements of being hypersonic, including high temperatures, pressure and speed levels.

It is designed to simulate speeds from Mach 4 to 8 under a total temperature of 900 Kelvin (626.85 C) at a simulated flight altitude of 48,000 meters. It can operate for more than 30 seconds, testing a hypersonic aircraft's capabilities including the separation and deployment of weapons from the aircraft.

With a foothold on serving China's aerospace strategy, the FL-64 aims to resolve the urgent aerodynamic problems that various aircraft are facing, and it will become another important tool in supporting the development of hypersonic weapons and equipment, according to the statement.

The company has previously built low-speed wind tunnels like the FL-8, FL-9, FL-10 and FL-51, and high-speed wind tunnels like the FL-2, FL-3, FL-60 and FL-62.

Chinese government-owned CCTV reported in August that the country is building the JF-22 hypervelocity wind tunnel that can simulate a speed of Mach 30 at high altitudes. Construction is expected to finish in 2022.

U.S.-China Hypersonic Missiles Arms Race?

Last week, General John Hyten, the vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff told CBS News that China launched a long-range hypersonic missile on July 27. "It went around the world, dropped off a hypersonic glide vehicle that glided all the way back to China, that impacted a target in China.” China however claims that it was testing a reusable rocket.

Combined with hundreds of new missile silos Beijing is building, Hyten believes it could one day have the capability to launch a surprise nuclear attack on America.

Hyten said that in the last five years, the country has carried out hundreds of hypersonic tests, while the U.S. has conducted just nine. China has already deployed one medium-range hypersonic weapon, while the U.S. is still a few years from fielding its first one.

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