Milley: Chinese hypersonic weapons test very close to a 'Sputnik moment'

Gen. Mark Milley is voicing concern over China's apparent testing of hypersonic weapons, saying the development is "very close" to a "Sputnik moment."

“What we saw was a very significant event of a test of a hypersonic weapon system. And it is very concerning,”  the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said during an interview this week with Bloomberg Television's “The David Rubenstein Show: Peer-to-Peer Conversations," according to Bloomberg News.

“I don’t know if it’s quite a Sputnik moment, but I think it’s very close to that," Milley added. "It has all of our attention.”

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China conducted two possible hypersonic weapons tests over the summer, including the launch of a hypersonic weapon into space that is thought to be capable of holding a nuclear payload, Bloomberg noted.

Milley's comments mark the most significant acknowledgment of the reports from a United States official, according to the news outlet. While Milley did not explicitly compare the situation to Sputnik, which launched the Soviet Union into an early lead in the space race, his remarks reveal the depth of the concern in the Pentagon regarding hypersonic weapons.

If China perfects the technology, Beijing could potentially target American anti-missile systems with nuclear warheads and send them over the South Pole, according to Bloomberg News.

Gregory Hayes, CEO of Raytheon Technologies Corp., reportedly said on Tuesday that America is “at least several years behind” China in developing hypersonic technology. 

China has denied reports of testing hypersonic weapons, saying that it launched a reusable space vehicle, Bloomberg News noted.