Posted: December 05, 2018 by
This is the time of year when many are making lists and checking them twice. So, in keeping with the season:
Six reasons we need to be hyper-interested in Hypersonics.
Definition: Hypersonic speed exceeds the speed of sound greater than Mach 5.
Russia and China have made Hypersonics a national priority and invested a lot of resources. Their goal? Making U.S. missile defenses obsolete.
Vladimir Putin has claimed Russia has a hypersonic missile already “carrying out…experimental and combat duty.” He’s talking about the Mach 10, 1,250-mile-range Kinzhal (dagger). He said it’s “guaranteed to overcome all existing and I think prospective anti-missile systems.”
The U.S. has fallen behind Russia and China in Hypersonic research, development, testing and delivering of weapons systems.
China has two to three times the Hypersonics facilities the U.S. has, according to Steven Walker, director of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency. The Chinese are in the process of building the world’s most powerful wind tunnel that will help to one day create hypersonic commercial travel, according to an article in Science Alert.
Hypersonic weapons have a very quick response, high speed, high maneuverability which make them hard to defend against. They are more difficult to find, track and destroy.
Hypersonic weapons can be launched from the ground, aircraft, and ships, and travel one to five miles a second. A hypersonic missile can carry nuclear warheads, standard explosives, or rely on its own kinetic energy to deliver significant destruction. A hypersonic missile, with no payload, just its own kinetic energy, is powerful enough to take down an entire building,” said Bob Mercier, chief engineer for the high-speed systems directorate at the Air Force Research Laboratory.
Hypersonic weapons could be very effective against U.S. naval ships and aircraft carriers.
China has developed a Hypersonic Glide Vehicle. This missile, traveling at extremely high speeds, at relatively low altitudes and on trajectories that are difficult to project, make it difficult for antiballistic-missile defense systems or traditional surface-to-air missile systems to defeat them as they are coming at you. Long-range Hypersonic Glide Vehicles give China expanded reach into the Pacific and enables China to reach U.S. aircraft carriers at farther distances.
Hypersonic airplanes could help defend against advanced radar systems.
Our stealth mode advantage is lessening due to advanced radar systems. The speed of Hypersonics could give us an added advantage.
The Air Force Armament Directorate at Eglin Air Force Base will manage a nearly half-billion-dollar contract for design and construction of a hypersonic missile.
Okaloosa County has always been a great supporter of our military. In November we joined with a large majority of Floridians to pass Amendment 9 - prohibiting gas and oil drilling in state waters as a first step to protecting the entirety of the Eastern Gulf of Mexico Military Test & Training Range. We are a community where national security and economic development align.
The military is 70-80% of our local economy. It is critical that Eglin AFB and our military installations remain a vital, active part of our county and even more critical the U.S. is ready for any and all threats. It is good news that Congress has increased the Air Force Hypersonics budget and good news our community can participate in the continued improvement of military capability and readiness.
Sources: Defense News, Breaking Defense, Defense One, Newsmax, Rand Corporation, The National Interest, NWF Daily News