Americans are battling with their domestic airline industries to implement 5G internet, and the Chinese are already moving towards 6G internet.
With the advent of fifth-generation (5G) Internet technology and China’s dominant role in this area of technological development, the United States and China have already started a new race to develop sixth-generation Internet technology ( 6G). Of course, the world is only just beginning to roll out the 5G technology that China has been pioneering for years and there are many issues to address as the civilian economy increasingly adapts to 5G. Yet that hasn’t stopped Beijing from once again outpacing its American rivals in the nascent field of 6G research. And unlike the Americans, China’s first 6G breakthrough has direct military implications.
Last summer, Beijing shocked the world by successfully testing a hypersonic glider vehicle. Moving at over 3,800 miles per hour, a hypersonic glider vehicle can move in any direction and overcome most known air defense systems. Armed with conventional or nuclear weapons, and capable of both evading detection and defense, a hypersonic glider vehicle can wreak havoc on any country in the world. But there are technical limits to this destructive new technology.
For example, whenever a hypersonic vehicle travels at five times the speed of sound (or faster), a communication failure occurs for at least ten minutes when a plasma bubble forms around the hull of the vehicle. hypersonic traveling at these hypersonic speeds. Standard communication signals cannot pass through this “dark barrier”, meaning that for ten minutes the hypersonic vehicle approaches its potential target unchecked.
Not only does the plasma shield prevent communications from penetrating it, but this “dark barrier” can also obscure the radar signatures of any hypersonic vehicle entering traditional air defense systems. So if a method could be found for an attacking country to have continuous contact with their hypersonic vehicles while on their attack vector, these weapons could turn out to be the nightmare weapons that many experts in the Pentagon defense fear they will become.
Chinese scientists from Tianjin University now claim to have overcome the communication deficit. Their solution uses a laser trained on the hypersonic vehicle to penetrate this plasma shield with powerful electromagnetic waves. In this case, 6G Internet requires electromagnetic waves to work. Essentially, the Tianjin researchers believe they can have full communications and control of China’s hypersonic glide vehicles thanks to China’s early investment in 6G internet technology.
Meanwhile, Americans are battling with their domestic airline industries to implement 5G internet, and the Chinese are already moving towards 6G internet. Now, the development of 6G is still in its infancy. However, the fact that China has experience working in 6G and hypersonic areas – and that China is now fusing the technologies into a potentially lethal package for the struggling US military – means Beijing is likely ahead. on the United States in the race. for next-generation technologies. This is because 60% of global patents for 6G-related technologies are held by Chinese individuals and/or companies.
For too long, Americans have assumed that their technological advance would prove decisive in deterring any challenge to their global primacy. Thirty years ago, when American power was at its height, that was a fair assumption. Yet in the years that followed, Americans squandered their Cold War victory in ruinous and inconclusive wars in the Middle East.
When this happened, Washington abandoned its support for high-tech research and development, leaving it to a private sector unable to prioritize strategically important innovations over more profitable and less strategically vital ones. This explains why China has overtaken American rivals in critical high-tech industries, such as 6G internet and hypersonic weapons, in a single decade, even though Americans have been investing in R&D for these two technologies for far longer than China.
America has dithered while China has embarked on a long march towards what it believes to be world domination. Beijing has married the desire to spearhead the next industrial revolution with the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) need to rule the world. Beijing’s main objective is first to be able to prevent the Americans from projecting their power into what they consider to be their sphere of influence, the Indo-Pacific. Therefore, China’s new hypersonic weapons capability along with advances in 6G could prove decisive in restraining US military might. If Washington knows that China has a working arsenal of hypersonic hover vehicles that can threaten any place on Earth, against which there is little defense, American leaders could be more restrained in their application of power to the beyond their shores for fear of being forced to endure such a brutal attack.
Of course, Chinese leaders know that Washington would retaliate significantly if Beijing ever launched a hypersonic attack on the United States. Although fortune favors the bold and the technology in question not only increases the risk of attack on the United States, but the fact that the Americans do not have their own working hypersonic weapon or have a defense against these systems gives Beijing clear advantages. It also gives Chinese leaders the all-important escalation dominance. And from these technological advances Beijing has orchestrated, more will come, as Americans are being left behind.
Allowing such revolutionary technology to be left in the sole possession of the People’s Republic of China is extremely destabilizing in the context of China-US relations. Already the tensions between the two behemoths are at historical heights. Beijing has consistently demonstrated its commitment to asymmetric forms of warfare as a means of undermining America’s overwhelming conventional military dominance. The presence of active hypersonic glide vehicles with a reliable command and control system in China’s growing arsenal is a clear and present danger to the United States.
We often hear about a “Sputnik Moment”. Well, here it is. And if Washington does not respond; if America does not take high-tech research and development more seriously than it has, we risk soon being defeated by China and its next-generation weapons technology.
Brandon J. Weichert is the author of “Winning Space: How America Remains a Superpower” (Republic Book Publishers). He is a geopolitical analyst who runs The Weichert Report: World News Done Right and can be followed via Twitter @WeTheBrandon.