China’s weapon also called the YJ-21, blasted off in a public display for its first demonstration. It is said to be designed to target aircraft carriers and can be seen in footage getting fired from a Type 055 vessel. This is significant as the YJ-21 is usually air-launched from a bomber. But the recent launch saw the missile rocket off from a cruiser usually used to defend aircraft carrier strike groups.
The YJ-21 is an ultra-fast missile with an unpredictable flight pattern, and is part of China’s “carrier killer” arsenal.
The Type 055 vessel is a guided-missile destroyer, reportedly the biggest and most advanced in Beijing’s entire fleet.
The country announced it brought two more vessels into the fleet last week, bringing the total of Type 055’s to five.
The Type 055 cruiser reportedly has 112 vertical launch missile cells and is equipped with various powerful weaponry.
Li Jie, a Beijing-based naval, told the South China Morning Post that adding the YJ-21 missiles addition to the Type O55 is part of a plot to deter foreign ships.
This applies to US Navy ships in particular, which may intervene in the South China Sea should China ramp up its aggression towards Taiwan.
Mr Li said: “The matching of the Type-055 and YJ-21 missile was designed for anti-access and area-denial to counter America’s maritime hegemony in the region.”
It also comes after six US lawmakers arrived in Taiwan on an unannounced trip.
US President Joe Biden has said that he is willing to defend Taiwan from China, which claims sovereignty over the independent island, if it attacks.
And last week, a US Navy carrier strike group completed routine drills off of the Korean Peninsula last week.
Zhou Chenming, a researcher at the think tank Yuan Wang, said: “Beijing is worrying that the unlimited US military assistance to Ukraine and a recent American congressional group tour to Taiwan might make Taipei believe Washington may provide the same help in the event of a conflict between the mainland and Taiwan.”
Hamish de Bretton-Gordon, a weapons expert from Cambridge University, told Express.co.uk: “All three working together is a real signal to the Chinese and the Russians that we are not going to stand still and we are going to go forward.”
Hypersonic missiles fly five to 10 times as fast as the speed of sound, at a pace referred to as Mach 5 to Mach 10.
The weapons are capable of carrying nuclear or conventional warheads and are designed to be manoeuvrable.
This, in theory, evades conventional missile defences.