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Reports of China testing a new missile system, known as the Fractional Orbital Bombardment System (FOBS), have fuelled concerns about the nuclear weapon state’s advancing military capabilities and the consequences for the United States. The flight tests conducted in July and August 2021 saw a rocket launched into orbital flight, which later re-entered the atmosphere and released a maneuverable glide vehicle travelling at hypersonic speeds. Long-range missile systems like this can carry nuclear or non-nuclear warheads. With no official explanation from the Chinese government, some American commentators were quick to assume the worst – a new Chinese ability to bombard the United States from outer space with nuclear weapons.
About Fractional Orbital Bombardment System
The system had no range limit. That is, it can be targeted at any point on the earth. The flight path of the warhead from the system does not reveal the target location till the payload hits the destination. However, the orbit of the system around the earth was only a fraction of the full orbit.
- It granted unlimited striking range.
- It was capable of striking from any direction.
- It was smart to hide the target location till the payload was dropped.