everything you always wanted to know about hypersonic weapons

STRATCOM General Warns Pindostan Is Powerless Against Hypersonic Missiles
Tyler Durden, Zero Hedge, Mar 21 2018


A hypersonic threat is a system that starts out ballistic, so you will see it like a ballistic missile, but then it depresses the trajectory and flies more like a cruise missile or airplane. It goes up into the low reaches of space and then turns immediately back down and then levels out and flies at a very high level of speed. That’s a hypersonic weapon.

Both Russia and China are aggressively pursuing hypersonic capabilities. We have watched them test those capabilities. We don’t have any defense that could deny the employment of such a weapon against us, so our response would be our deterrent force, which would be the (nuclear) triad and the nuclear capabilities that we have to respond to such a threat. I strongly agree with the need for a low-yield nuclear weapon. That capability is a deterrence weapon to respond to the threat that Russia in particular is portraying. Pres Putin announced as far back as Apr 2000 that the Russian doctrine will be to use a low-yield nuclear weapon on the battlefield. The areas we’re ahead in, we should accelerate further. We need to make sure that that becomes a priority for our nation. And right now, we have a challenge with that, with our current on-orbit space architecture and the limited number of radars that we have around the world. We need to move into space and be able to build sensors to conduct both the characterization of these new threats that are appearing, as well as discriminate better and earlier the midcourse element of the threat that exists today. I think we have stability with Russia on the nuclear side. We have an advantage with China on the nuclear side. But they are gaining ground quickly, especially when you look at space and cyber.

That was USAF Gen John Hyten, commander of STRATCOM, speaking to the Senate Armed Services Committee on Mar 20. In February, the MDA requested its largest-ever budget increase, $9.9b, for FY 2019, including $120.4m for Hypersonic Defense (PE 0604181C), whereby MDA will execute a rigorous systems engineering process, identify and mature full kill chain technology, provide analysis and assessment of target of opportunity events, and execute near term sensor and command and control capability upgrades to address defense from hypersonic threats. This effort will execute the Defense Science Board’s recommendations to develop and deliver a set of material solutions to address and defeat hypersonic threats informed by a set of near-term technology demonstrations. An integrated set of enhancements will provide incremental capability measured by progress and knowledge points in the following areas: establishment of systems engineering needs and requirements to identify alternative material solutions; execution of a series of sensor technology demonstrations; modification of existing BMDS sensors and the C2BMC element for hypersonic threats; and definition of weapon concepts and investments in key technologies to enable a broad set of solutions, including kinetic and non-kinetic means across left and right of launch.

One Comment

  1. Posted March 22, 2018 at 12:30 pm | Permalink

    I wonder how long that satellite would last in a kinetic environment.

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