Published on: January 7, 2022




North Korea has successfully tested a hypersonic missile in the first major weapons test by the nuclear-armed nation this year.


  • Describes any speed faster than five times that of sound i.e. greater than 5 Mach( 1 Mach is speed of sound), which is roughly 760 miles (1,220 kilometers) per hour at sea level.
  • Extremely complex technology, which also needs to be able to handle high temperatures, making the hypersonic systems extremely costly.

Different kinds of hypersonic weapons

  • Glide vehicles and cruise missiles.
  • Hypersonic cruise missiles: These are the ones that use rocket or jet propellant through their flight and are regarded as being just faster versions of existing cruise missiles.
  • Hypersonic Glide Vehicle (HGV): These missiles first go up into the atmosphere on a conventional rocket before being launched towards their target.
  • Most of the attention is focused on the former, which are launched from a rocket before gliding to their target, because of the challenges of achieving hypersonic propulsion of missiles.
  • The missiles have engines called scramjets that use the air’s oxygen and produce thrust during their flight, allowing them to cruise at a steady speed and altitude.