Hypersonic missiles could drive next arms race with China, Russia

Military Tech
hypersonic missiles

Russian hypersonic vehicle. (Russian news agencies)

MYSTERY WIRE — Hypersonic missiles are “the Pershing missile of the 21st century,” according to U.S. Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy.

Advances in the technology make hypersonic missiles virtually undetectable until it’s too late to stop them.

If Pershing missiles delivered nuclear weapons in 10 minutes, the new missiles are 4 to 5 times faster. Pershings were game-changers in the Cold War. And according to some reports, the US has actually fallen behind China and Russia in developing the new weapons.

The Guardian reported on Dec. 27 that Russia had deployed nuclear-capable missiles that can fly at 27 times the speed of sound. The article compared the advance to Sputnik, when Russia vaulted ahead of the US in space technology.

Could the three Superpowers be headed for the next arms race?

A report from Defense One — a website that reports news on the future of US defense and national security — provides a look at how US hypersonic weapons might be deployed. The topic was addressed at a Brookings Institution event where McCarthy spoke.

“Because of the extraordinary speed and lethality of that capability, the dilemma is that if you don’t have essentially, a type of, almost artificial intelligence-like capabilities … you can’t find it, sense it, or shoot it. Because it will be there in a couple minutes,” McCarthy said.

UNLV engineering professor Dr. Bill Culbreth took part in research on hypersonic missiles long before they actually existed.

Defense against hypersonic missiles may someday be space-based, with weapons that would disrupt missile flights rather than attempting to intercept them with other missiles.

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