Dr Bleddyn Bowen and Dr Cameron Hunter, "Chinese Fractional Orbital Bombardment" (APLN, November 2021)

APLN Policy Brief 78

“Reports of China testing a new missile system, known as 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 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.

In this new policy brief, Dr. Bleddyn Bowen and Dr. Cameron Hunter from the University of Leicester assess the technical and policy implications of this new system and whether these concerns are justified.” 

– Asia Pacific Leadership Network


Dr Bleddyn Bowen
Dr Cameron Hunter