China has just conducted the third flight test of a hypersonic missile which has the potential of breaching U.S. missile defense systems. The successful flight test of the Wu-14 hypersonic glide vehicle was carried out early in December, following two other tests which occurred earlier in 2014. The Wu-14 is still in the developmental stage, but China plans to have it ready for deployment by 2020. The hypersonic glide vehicle has the capability of reaching speeds of Mach 10 (10 times the speed of sound) — nearly 8,000 miles per hour.

The development of hypersonic missiles appears to be a top priority for China as the country continues its massive military buildup. In addition to the Wu-14 program, the Chinese are developing a hypersonic scramjet-powered vehicle while also continuing to expand their overall military capabilities in other areas, such as submarines and multiple-warhead missile systems. Hypersonic missiles pose a challenge for defense systems, particularly if they were to be used in combination with other missiles in an attack, according to the 2014 annual congressional US-China Economic and Security Review Commission report, which was released in November: FULL REPORT