China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA) conducted a live-fire exercise near Pingtan Island, around 120 kilometers from the Taiwanese coast.
The exercise included the launch of a DF-17 hypersonic system from a land-based platform, as seen in a promotional video released ahead of the 95th anniversary of the founding of the PLA, on August 1, 2022.
The show of force also coincides with the potential visit of US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to the island of Taiwan as part of a tour of the Indo-Pacific region. “Those who play with fire will eventually get burned,” China’s president Xi Jinping reportedly said in reference to Taiwan during a call to his US counterpart Joe Biden, according to the state-run Xinhua news agency.
The DF-17 is said to be China’s first hypersonic glider weapon. After being launched by a medium-range solid-fuel ballistic missile, the DF-ZF glider reaches speeds greater than Mach 5 (over 6,000 kilometers per hour).
The PLA fields two hypersonic weapons, the DF-17 and the DF-21, a hypersonic anti-ship missile known as the CH-AS-X-13. A third hypersonic platform, a ship-launched anti-ship missile called the YJ-21, is currently under development.