The Pakistan Air Force has announced hypersonic ballistic missile capabilities.
In a press release, the PAF revealed that the weapon is part of a wider defense modernization effort aimed at countering evolving threats in the region.
Hypersonic ballistic missiles can travel at speeds above Mach 5 or five times the speed of sound. While some existing ballistic missiles can already travel faster than 1.05 miles per second, hypersonic weapons move erratically toward their target as they reenter the planet’s atmosphere. This makes them more challenging for traditional radar systems and defense shields to detect, track and destroy.
Timothy Wright, a military analyst from the International Institute for Strategic Studies, told C4ISRNET that Pakistan’s hypersonic missile is likely the CM-400AKG the South Asian nation acquired from China. About five years ago, PAF purchased the missiles for its JF-17 Thunder jet fleet.
Although its Chinese manufacturer asserted that CM-400AKG can travel at hypersonic speeds, the claim has not been verified by an independent assessor. According to Wright, that missile could be a high-supersonic system that can travel at Mach 3 to Mach 4.9.
Many countries, including the United States, are building hypersonic missiles. While the U.S. is progressing in developing offensive capabilities, a 2023 report from the Department of Defense warned that China currently has “the world’s leading hypersonic arsenal.”