U.S. Urgently Speeding Up Hypersonic Weapons Research After
Machine guns. Fighter jets. Nuclear weapons. When a new facet of military technology gains operational capability, sometimes it changes the rules of the game. Hypersonic weapons—that travel over five times the speed of sound—are difficult to detect and harder to intercept, offer that potential.
The impending promise of hypersonic weapons is so great that Undersecretary of Defense for Research and Engineering Dr. Michael Griffin recently explained: “I’m sorry for everybody out there who champions some other high priority, some technical thing; it’s not that I disagree with those. But there has to be a first [priority], and hypersonics is my first.”
This sense of urgency is driven by two key variables: burgeoning capability gaps the American military seeks to close and the very real risk that China and Russia may field this technology in advance of the United States.
From a military perspective the desire to field hypersonic weapons makes sense. First, these weapons travel in excess of 3,600 miles per hour (1 mile per second) and currently, no military possesses a credible defense. Finding, tracking and intercepting something that fast is unprecedented. Given that Russia and China have invested heavily in advanced defensive technologies that now hold most of our traditional forms of power projection at risk, this is a significant advantage—it’s one that would impose major costs upon a defending nation.
#Hypersonic #Weapons #Russia #US #Missile