Hypersonic missile developed in the US 'could travel at speeds of up to 16,000mph' using an engine made entirely by a 3D printer
- Hypersonic weapons travel in upper atmosphere above 3,853mph (Mach 5)
- Project will use scramjet technology that compresses air before combustion
- US plan to spend billions on weapons as Russia and China work on similar thing
F-35 and F-15EX fighter jets could get drone wingmen in the coming years as part of the Skyborg programme
Fears of a new global nuclear arms race as China joins Russia in warning it will 'not stand idly by' if the US deploys medium range missiles after tearing up arms control treaty
President Trump walked away from Cold War missile treaty last week, sparking fears of a new global nuclear arms race
US has since suggested it will test and deploy weapons banned under the deal
Russia has already said it will be forced to respond if tests go ahead as planned
China now says it 'will not sit idly by' if missiles are deployed in the Asia-Pacific
China warned Tuesday it will react if the US goes ahead with plans to deploy intermediate-range missiles in the Asia-Pacific region.
Beijing said it will not stand 'idly by' and 'will be forced to take countermeasures' if the deployment goes ahead, but did not specify what exactly that would involve.
It comes after President Trump tore up the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces treaty which was signed under Ronald Reagan during the Cold War which prohibited the US from fielding such weapons.
China has said it will 'not sit idly by' if the US chooses to deploy intermediate-range missiles to the Asia-Pacific region after walking away from a treaty that banned the weapons (pictured, a retired Chinese missile at a military museum in Beijing)
Beijing was not a signatory to the original Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty, and Washington has said it tore up the deal in part to counter threats from China (file)
Trump has said he is keen to sign a new pact that includes both Russia, which was signed up to the previous deal, and China, which was not.
However, fears have been growing of a new arms race after Washington announced its intention to test a new intermediate-range weapon in the coming weeks.
US Defense Secretary Mark Esper then pointed out that the US is free to deploy weapons to the Asia-Pacific region as well.
Russia has said that it will also be forced to respond if America starts developing new projectiles, and has called for a moratorium while a new deal is worked out.The US lays the blame for the deal's demise solely at the feet of the Kremlin, which they say has already developed a cruise missile which breaches the deal.
Fu Cong, the director of arms control at the Chinese foreign ministry, said Tuesday: 'China will not stand idly by and will be forced to take countermeasures should the US deploy intermediate-range ground-based missiles in this part of the world.
'And we also call on our neighbours, our neighbouring countries, to exercise prudence and not to allow a US deployment of its intermediate-range missiles on (their) territory,' he added, naming Australia, Japan and South Korea.
'That would not serve the national security interest of these countries.'
Putin has already said that Russia will be forced to respond if Washington decides to test and deploy new missiles. The Kremlin has called for a new deal to be signed
America lays blame for the treaty's failure squarely on Russia after it says the country developed a new cruise missile (pictured) which breached it
Fu said it was important to recognise that the US is proposing to install the weapons at China's 'doorstep'.
'Especially for a country that has experienced the Cuban missile crisis, I think the American people should understand China's feelings.'
Australia on Monday ruled out the possibility of the missiles being deployed on its soil, saying Canberra had not even been asked to host them.
South Korea's defence ministry said it had not had any discussions with the US about the deployment of intermediate missiles.
'We have also not internally reviewed the issue and have no plan to do so,' ministry spokesperson Choi Hyun-soo told reporters.
The INF treaty was considered a cornerstone of the global arms control architecture but the United States said the bilateral pact had given other countries - namely China - free rein to develop their own long-range missiles.
Esper, the new Pentagon chief, said Saturday that Washington would like to deploy the missiles 'sooner rather than later', speaking to reporters on a plane to Sydney at the start of a week-long tour of Asia.
'I would prefer months... But these things tend to take longer than you expect.'
Trump has suggested that he would be open to signing a new deal that included both Russia and China, but has not unveiled any plans to do so (pictured, a protester in Berlin)
The announcement was the latest US plan to irk China, which is vying with Washington for influence in the region, but Esper said Beijing should not be surprised.
The rise of a militarily more assertive China has worried traditional US allies such as Australia and New Zealand, and Beijing's actions in the South China Sea have alarmed neighbours with competing territorial claims to the strategic waterway.
Esper did not specify where the US intended to deploy the weapons but experts say the most likely location is the island of Guam, which hosts significant US military facilities.
Fu said that any deployment in Guam - around 3,000 kilometres from Shanghai on China's east coast - would be viewed as 'a very provocative action on the part of the US and it can be very dangerous'.
Washington withdrew from the INF treaty on Friday after accusing Russia of violating it for years.
Under the pact signed in 1987 by then US president Ronald Reagan and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev, Washington and Moscow agreed to limit the use of conventional and nuclear missiles with a range of 500-5,000 kilometres (300-3,000 miles).
But its unravelling had been on the cards for months amid worsening ties between Russia and the US.
Fu said the United States talking about any Chinese and Russian violations was 'pure pretext'.
'The real purpose of the US withdrawal, as many of the experts have said, is to free its hand and to develop missile capabilities,' he said.
- The US Air Force is exploring how AI-controlled jets could support fighter pilots
- Drones could enable the US Air Force to reduce the number of jets per mission
- Such would reduce the risk to pilots while economical drones cut overall costs
- XQ-58 Valkyrie stealth drones are among those marked for transfer to AI control