A photo showing the first test flight of the HD-1 supersonic cruise missile. Photo: Hongda
A photo showing the first test flight of the HD-1 supersonic cruise missile. Photo: Hongda

Chinese newspapers have reported that a publicly traded company completed a successful flight test of a supersonic cruise missile this week.

The test at a still-unknown location in northern China verified the launch, power and flight-control systems of a missile codenamed HD-1, according to Guangzhou-based Hongda Blasting, a mining company that manufactures explosives for industrial and military use.

All parameters of the supersonic cruising flight of the missile ranging from aerodynamic design, trajectory and overall structural and proposition reliability reportedly reached designed requirements.

The HD-1 is a comprehensive weapon system incorporating the missile itself along with launch, command and control, target indication and comprehensive support systems.

Its advanced solid-fuel ramjet needs less fuel than its foreign competitors on the international arms market, meaning the lighter missile is able to fly faster and farther.

The missile can be easily retrofitted to be launched from aircraft and ships as well as from mobile vehicle platforms, the company said.

Hongda stressed that the new missile was the result of its own research and development efforts, hailing the successful maiden test flight as a hard-won fruit of Beijing’s military-civilian integration initiative – a policy to encourage technical cooperation and transfers between the military and manufacturing sectors.

Hongda has been a longtime supplier for the People’s Liberation Army, and the company is awaiting regulatory approval to kickstart mass production the HD-1 for export, according to the Global Times. A military observer was quoted by the paper as saying that there were not many such supersonic cruise missiles available on the international market.

“Pakistan and other countries in South Asia are likely to show interest given the weapon’s potential to break through anti-missile systems at supersonic speeds,” said the paper.

By comparison, the BrahMos missile, a medium-range ramjet supersonic missile jointly developed by Russia and India and featuring Russia’s sea-skimming technology, is more expensive and thus less attractive to cash-strapped militaries, and the BrahMos can only be sold to “responsible” countries friendly with both India and Russia.

The Hongda missile will make its debut at Airshow China 2018 in Zhuhai in November.