Well, yes, OK

China has developed the world’s most advanced wind tunnel, capable of simulating 30 times the speed of sound and handing Beijing an edge in the race for hypersonic weapons.

The JF-22 facility in Beijing could replicate speeds of up to 23,000mph, far outstripping its rivals in the United States. It is due for completion this year.

Although myself I might wonder whether it’s actually going to work. “Due for completion” and “could” are little signals there.

5 thoughts on “Well, yes, OK”

  1. One does wonder whether the article is designed to frighten the West into wasting money on this in order to frighten the Chinese government to splurge more cash on it in reply.

  2. Err, what? I’ve seen a Mach 25 (23000 mph) wind tunnel in Imperial back in 1986. Admittedly, it was about 10 cm diameter, but such wind tunnels have been around for a long time. Making them larger just requires more and more energy (the Mach 3 tunnel they used for SR71 development used to drain the local grid in Burbank overnight in the 60’s).

  3. Small ones are useful for testing materials. Medium ones, up to a meter or so, are good for testing components. Large ones that you could test a whole vehicle in are prohibitively expensive and energy hungry. Even more so if you want to test a hypersonic engine. Much more cost effective to build a supercomputer and run tests. There’s a reason Musk doesn’t have a hypersonic wind tunnel the size of a blimp hangar.

  4. The main purpose of hypersonic research/testing is re-entry vehicles of the mega-bang type.
    There are 3 main hurdles to joining the ICBM club: the bangy bit, the rockety bit, and the re-entry bit. The latter is by far the hardest, and it is still wrapped in immense security: read Colin Pillinger’s tales of trying to test Beagle-2 to see why & how.

    So this deliberately announced report is a message from President Eleven saying “We have mega-bang thingies, and are improving them all the time”.
    Anyone would think they have, or are about to have, a guilty conscience about summat.
    Whatever might that be?

  5. @tim the Coder

    Chinese policy recently has been moving in a very anti-dissent direction. Last year, they were beating protestors in HK and getting involved in fighting with the Indians. (They of course were beating up the Uighurs, but they’ve been doing that for years…)


    Even without the likely fallout from the possibility that Covid was the result of shoddy gain of function research, China seems to be feeling a bit aggressive recently.

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