France Successfully Conducts Hypersonic Glide Vehicle Test

France has successfully for the first time has tested a Hypersonic Glide Vehicle (HGV), a warhead that defies interception owing to its unpredictable trajectory.

The speed of HGVs can exceed Mach 5, or 6,000 kilometers per hour (3,730 mph). The technology is being developed or deployed by a small number of countries that include China, Russia, and the United States.

The French glider, called V-Max, was launched from a sounding rocket — which allows precise measurements.

To be noted, the French V-Max program is being developed by Ariane Groupe, a defense company specializing in space launches and best known for Ariane rockets.

Unlike ballistic missiles whose trajectory after launch is fixed, the flight path of HGVs can change at high speed at any point during flight, allowing them to zigzag past air defenses and take evasive action once targeted by anti-air missiles.