China claims to have conducted a hypersonic air battle simulation that involved neutralizing a fighter aircraft with F-35-like features.
The experiment was conducted by a team of Chinese researchers led by a Nanjing University of Aeronautics and Astronautics professor seeking to develop tactics for downing enemy assets flying faster than the speed of sound.
The enemy fighter jet involved in the computer simulation had a speed of Mach 1.3, close to the top speed of an American F-35.
The order given to the Chinese plane was to head straight toward the target and neutralize it.
With the help of artificial intelligence (AI), the pilot reportedly maneuvered the aircraft at a speed of Mach 11, allowing it to position far ahead (30 kilometers/19 miles) of the enemy warplane.
The pilot then fired a missile “over the shoulder” and ended the battle in less than eight seconds.
According to the team, the air battle simulation showed the longest possible killing range for Chinese hypersonic warplanes.
Aircraft traveling at Mach 5 or higher do not have the fire control systems to launch missiles at long ranges.
However, the AI developed by the Chinese team “boosted” the battle effectiveness of hypersonic aircraft.
“This shows that when the [hypersonic aircraft] is performing air-to-air missions, it can attack from outside the combat theater by launching weapons at a long distance in front of the target using over-the-shoulder launch,” the team stated.
The researchers said they will explore AI more to enable a fleet of hypersonic aircraft to perform a so-called “multi-wave” attack.