From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search

WU-14 is the Pentagon's code name for a Chinese hypersonic glide vehicle (HGV), now called the DF-ZF.[1]


WU-14 conducted its first flight test on 9 January 2014, as reported by Washington Free Beacon on 14 January 2014.[2] On 15 January 2014, the Chinese Defense Ministry confirmed the test in a two-sentence statement faxed to news agencies and state-run media in Beijing.[3]

The Free Beacon said the test made China the third country after the Russian Federation and the United States to have successfully tested a hypersonic delivery vehicle able to carry thermonuclear weapons at a speed above Mach 10 - or 12,359 kilometers per hour (7,675 mph).[4] China is also believed to be developing a hypersonic scramjet version that can be launched from air or ground.[5]

On 7 August 2014, the WU-14 made its second test launch, which failed as it broke apart soon after launching.[6] A third test was conducted in early December 2014, and was successful.[7][8][9] The 4th test of the Wu-14 was conducted on the 7 June 2015.[10][11] The 5th test of the Wu-14 was carried out in early August, 2015. Test was deemed successful.[12] According to Bill Gertz of the Washington Free Beacon, the Wu-14 is now called DF-ZF.[1]


The HGV is intended to be less susceptible to anti-ballistic missile countermeasures than conventional reentry vehicles (RVs). Normal RVs descend through the atmosphere on a predictable ballistic trajectory - their high speeds makes intercepting them extremely difficult. By the late 1980s, however, several countries began to develop interceptor missiles designed to destroy ballistic RVs. A hypersonic glider like the HGV could pull-up after reentering the atmosphere and approach its target in a relatively flat glide, lessening the time it can be detected, fired at, or (if the initial attack failed) reengaged. Gliding makes it more maneuverable and extends its range.

A vehicle like the WU-14 could be fitted to various Chinese ballistic missiles, such as the DF-21 medium-range missile (rumored to be called DF-26 with the HGV payload), and the DF-31 and DF-41 intercontinental ballistic missiles, extending their ranges from 2,000 km (1,200 mi) to 3,000 km (1,900 mi) and 8,000 km (5,000 mi) to 12,000 km (7,500 mi) respectively. Analysts suspect that the WU-14 will first be used in shorter-range roles as an anti-ship missile and for other tactical purposes to address the problem of hitting a moving target with a ballistic missile. Long-term goals may include deterrence of U.S. missile capabilities with the prospect of strategic bombardment against America, or other countries. With conventional interceptor missiles having difficulty against targets with late detection and maneuvering while traveling faster than Mach 5 (the WU-14 reenters the atmosphere at Mach 10), the U.S. may place more importance on developing directed-energy weapons as a countermeasure.[13]

The HGV stays within the stratosphere and glides through the air. Although that creates more drag, warheads fly further than they would on a higher trajectory through space, and are too low to be intercepted by exo-atmospheric kill vehicles. The tradeoff is that warheads have less speed and altitude as they near the target, making them vulnerable to lower-tier interceptors.[14] Potential counter-hypersonic interception measures may involve laser or rail gun technologies.[15]


Date Result Notes
9 January 2014 Success [16]
7 August 2014 Failure Crashed in Inner Mongolia[17]
2 December 2014 Success [18]
7 June 2015 Success [10]
 ?? August 2015 Success [12]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b China Shows New intermediate-Range Missile Capable of Targeting Ships - freebeacon.com, 4 September 2015
  2. ^ "Hypersonic arms race: China tests high-speed missile to beat U.S. defenses". 
  3. ^ "Chinese Defense Ministry Confirms Hypersonic Missile Test". 
  4. ^ "China confirms hypersonic missile carrier test". 
  5. ^ http://freebeacon.com/china-conducts-first-test-of-new-ultra-high-speed-missile-vehicle/
  6. ^ China’s Hypersonic Aircraft Fails Second Test Launch - En.Ria.ru, 22 August 2014
  7. ^ China Conducts Third Flight Test of Hypersonic Strike Vehicle - Freebeacon.com, 4 December 2014
  8. ^ "Chinese Hypersonic Strike Vehicle May Overcome US Missile Defense: Expert". SpaceDaily. 8 December 2014. 
  9. ^ "China's New Hypersonic Strike Vehicle Takes Flight Again". SpaceDaily. 8 December 2014. 
  10. ^ a b China Conducts Fourth Test of Wu-14 Strike Vehicle - Freebeacon.com, 11 June, 2015
  11. ^ China confirms test of new hypersonic strike vehicle 'Wu-14' - rt.com, 14 June, 2015
  12. ^ a b China Conducts Fifth Test of Hypersonic Glide Vehicle - freebeacon.com, 21 August 2015
  13. ^ U.S. Navy Sees Chinese HGV As Part Of Wider Threat - Aviationweek.com, 27 January 2014
  14. ^ Introducing the Ballistic Missile Defense Ship - Aviationweek.com, 11 April 2014
  15. ^ U.S., China in Race to Develop Hypersonic Weapons - Nationaldefensemagazine.org, 27 August 2014
  16. ^ China Conducts First Test of New Ultra-High Speed Missile Vehicle - freebeacon.com, 13 January 2014
  17. ^ China Secretly Conducts Second Flight Test Of New Ultra High-Speed Missile - freebeacon.com, 19 August 2014
  18. ^ China Conducts Third Flight Test of Hypersonic Strike Vehicle - freebeacon.com, 4 December 2014