The People’s Republic of China flight tested a hypersonic missile still in development that has a “high probability” of penetrating U.S. air defenses, according to leaked documents from the Department of Defense (DOD).
The PRC conducted a test flight for a Dongfeng-27 missile, designed to carry hypersonic glide vehicles, on Feb. 25, according to the DOD document reviewed by the Daily Caller. The DF-27, a successor to the DF-17 still being developed, is aimed at enhancing China’s ability to strike targets beyond the Second Island Chain in the Pacific, and has a “high probability” of penetrating U.S. ballistic missile defenses (BMD).
DF-27 hypersonic ballistic missile leaked https://t.co/zis2wXCHYN pic.twitter.com/7TMhjX3LMc
— China_Arms (@China_Arms) August 20, 2021
The classified documents were initially leaked online last month on various social media platforms, the first of which is believed to have been a Minecraft group on Discord. They were subsequently scrubbed from social media, before resurfacing in media reports in recent days during which time they were acquired by the Daily Caller.
Pentagon Doc 1 by Dylan Housman on Scribd
The developmental DF-27 flew for approximately 12 minutes and covered a range of 2,100 kilometers (about 1,300 miles) during that timespan, according to the intelligence briefing reviewed by the Daily Caller.
Relatively little is publicly known about the DF-27. A 2021 DOD report for Congress claimed that “sources indicate a ‘longrange’ DF-27 ballistic missile is in development” that could possess a range of 5,000-8,000 kilometers (3,100-5,000 miles). The People’s Liberation Army Rocket Force (PLARF) began fielding its first hypersonic weapons system, the DF-17 in 2020, according to U.S. intelligence. It was among the first hypersonic weapons systems in the world to become operational.
Video clips and photos of the DF-27 system have been spotted at PLA military parades and in training material during the past two years. The DF-27’s extended range and ability to penetrate U.S. air defenses would open up a number of targets in Hawaii, Alaska and Australia, although it still would not be capable of reaching the continental United States, The Diplomat reported. (RELATED: China Launches Simulated Attack Following Taiwanese President’s Meeting With Speaker McCarthy)
The Second Island Chain referred to in the DOD intelligence briefing is the Eastern boundary of the Philippine Sea, and includes Japan’s Bonin Islands and Volcano Islands, the Mariana Islands, which includes Guam, the Western Caroline Islands and Western New Guinea. It is considered the second maritime boundary of containment for the U.S. against China.