China announced this week it was working on a wind tunnel facility that could end up being the fastest in the world. Researchers hoped to have the facility operating by 2020 to meet the demands of the nation’s hypersonic weapons development program.

Researchers aimed to test hypersonic flight inside the tunnel at speeds of up to 12 kilometers per second, or 26,843 miles per hour, according to the South China Morning Post. A weapon moving at such speeds could reach the west coast of the United States from China in less than 14 minutes.

“It will boost the engineering application of hypersonic technology, mostly in military sectors, by duplicating the environment of extreme hypersonic flights, so problems can be discovered and solved on the ground,” said Zhao Wei, a senior scientist working on the project, according to SCMP.

China has been working on its hypersonic technology and conducted seven successful test flights in March of the hypersonic glider WU-14, which reached speeds of up to Mach 10. Hypersonic technology has become an important element in China’s national security, Popular Science reported in 2015.

“China and the U.S. have started a hypersonic race,” said Wu Dafang, a professor at the School of Aeronautic science and engineering at Beihang University in Beijing, according to SCMP. “[The new wind tunnel will be] one of the most powerful and advanced ground test facilities for hypersonic vehicles in the world. This is definitely good news for us. I look forward to its completion.”

The United States Air Force released a report in July warning of accelerating hypersonic weapons development by China and Russia. The U.S. itself has also been developing capabilities for hypersonic flight in recent years. The United States' unmanned hypersonic surveillance flight was on track to be effective by the 2030s, while recoverable hypersonic drone technology was expected to be possible sometime in the 2040s, Air Force Chief Scientist Geoffrey Zacharias told Scout Warrior.

“We must push the boundaries of technology in every area,” Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. David L. Goldfein said in a statement, according to National Interest. “Our adversaries aren’t standing still. They are looking for every advantage they can get.”