U.S. ‘not as advanced’ as China and Russia on hypersonic tech, Space Force general warns

Hypersonic missiles travel at least five times as fast as sound, but their ability to slide on the atmosphere while changing direction at such a high speed makes it virtually impossible to track and destroy with existing radars.

While the Pentagon has pushed the development of new hypersonic missiles, the army will not deploy its first missile until 2024, 2028.

“It should come as no surprise to anyone that China is developing capabilities that would be viewed negatively by like-minded allies and partners,” said Admiral John Aquilino, head of US Indo-Pacific Command, a small group of reporters on the sidelines of the event.

The Space Force is working to “find out the type of satellite constellation we need” to track these rockets, Thompson said after his public statements to POLITICO. “It’s a new challenge, but it’s not that we don’t have an answer to this challenge. We just have to understand it, fully conceptualize it and fly it. “

While there is no timetable for when these new satellites can enter orbit, “we are rapidly evolving our approach and timelines,” said Thompson.

Both Thompson and Aquilino expressed concerns about how the often slow and risk averse acquisition process is affecting military competition from the sea and from space.

“The red tape we’ve built into our defense and acquisition business, not just in space but elsewhere, has slowed us down in many areas,” said Thompson. “The fact that we haven’t had to act quickly for several decades – in the sense of a strategic competitor with these skills – has not driven us or required us to act quickly.”

Chinese leader Xi Jinping has publicly set out a plan for his military to achieve parity with the United States by 2027 and become the world’s leading power by 2050, which doesn’t make Beijing’s rapid development of new weapons surprising, Aquilino said.

“We should expect such skills to show up, and I think the answer is that our system needs to be able to respond much faster,” he said.

However, there is progress in the Pentagon. Last month the military did successfully tested a rocket engine intended to hurl the hypersonic slider into the atmosphere. And on Friday, the Missile Defense Agency Raytheon, Lockheed Martin and Northrop Grumman held a competition to develop a new hypersonic glide-phase interceptor that will be able to destroy an incoming hypersonic missile.

Leave a Comment