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“Qualitatively behind Russia”: why the Pentagon announced “asymmetry of combat capabilities” in the field of hypersound


US Defense Department spokesman Lt. Col. Robert Carver said Washington’s “opponents” have an advantage in hypersonic technology, leading to “asymmetries in combat capabilities.” According to him, this situation arose because the United States allegedly had not previously decided “to turn hypersonic technologies into weapons.” However, according to experts, this contradicts the official data of the Pentagon and Congress, which admitted that the country tried to create hypersonic systems in the early 2000s. According to political scientists, the purpose of the current statements by the United States is to justify the promotion of the arms race. At the same time, Washington has few real chances to catch up with Russia in the field of hypersonic technologies, analysts say.

Pentagon spokesman Air Force Lieutenant Colonel Robert Carver accused US "opponents" of using hypersonic technology for military purposes. Because of this, he said, “asymmetry in terms of combat capabilities” arose not in favor of the United States.

“Despite the fact that the United States has been leading the field of research in the field of hypersonic systems for many decades, we did not decide to turn hypersonic technologies into weapons,” Carver said in an interview with Newsweek. “Those who decided to compete with us decided to turn it into a weapon, because of which there was an asymmetry in terms of combat capabilities, to which we must respond.”

The corresponding statement by the Pentagon representative appears in the material devoted to the latest Russian defense systems. In particular, the publication highlights the hypersonic complexes “Dagger”, “Vanguard” and “Zircon”.

Russian leadership

Recall that in 2018, during a message to the Federal Assembly, Russian President Vladimir Putin said that Russia has weapons of this type. So, the “Dagger” aviation missile system took up pilot combat duty in December 2017. Another hypersonic Avangard complex - which uses a ballistic missile to launch - passed successful tests in December 2018. According to Vladimir Putin, this system should go into service with the Strategic Missile Forces by the end of this year.

  • Hypersonic rocket "Dagger"
  • RIA News
  • © Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation

In addition, in February 2019, during a message to the Federal Assembly, the Russian president spoke about the Zircon hypersonic missile, which will be armed with both surface and submarine ships of the Russian fleet. So, on October 31, during the president’s visit to Yantar Baltic Shipyard JSC, it was noted that Zircon could enter the armament of the Gremyashchy corvette under construction. On November 8, Russian Deputy Minister of Defense Alexei Krivoruchko announced that such a missile would be equipped with a large project 1155 Marshal Shaposhnikov anti-submarine ship and Project 949A Irkutsk multipurpose nuclear submarine.

On November 6, speaking at a ceremony to introduce officers appointed to senior command posts, Vladimir Putin said that the Russian armed forces “intend to build up defense capabilities and put on combat alert systems of hypersonic, laser and other modern weapons that other countries do not yet have” .

“After the president announced that Russia had new weapons, the United States began to perceive relations with Moscow through the prism of weakness and defeat,” said Konstantin Blokhin, an expert at the Center for Security Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences, in an interview with RT. - Objectively, Washington during the “euphoria of the 90s” “sprayed” its capabilities, spending money not on upgrading high-quality weapons, but on creating a network of military bases around the world, on waging wars in Afghanistan and Iraq - as Trump said, these conflicts cost United States $ 8 trillion. It is clear that during this time they are partly behind, despite the huge military budget. ”

American complexes

It is worth noting that the United States tested various hypersonic systems in the early 2000s. However, before the adoption of any systems for armament, the matter did not reach.

“Lieutenant Colonel Robert Carver is cunning, saying that the United States was not the first to decide to use hypersonic technology for military purposes,” military expert Yuri Knutov said in an interview with RT. - In the so-called lightning strike strategy, which was previously announced at the Pentagon, the emphasis was on hypersonic weapons. In fact, he is trying to say that the United States is lagging behind Russia, not because the Russians were faster and smarter, but because Washington allegedly was not involved in the development of such weapons. ”

According to him, the current Pentagon statements "reveal the aggressive plans of the United States" and are designed to justify the promotion of "an arms race from the West."

The Pentagon has requested the allocation of $ 2.6 billion for hypersonic programs in 2020, which is $ 200 million more than this year. In total, in the next five years it is planned to spend $ 10 billion on combat hypersound.

The Pentagon spokesman claimed that the United States was not the first to decide to use hypersonic technology for military purposes, which contradicts both the test data previously published by the defense department and the information available to Congress.

"The United States is actively developing hypersonic weapons - that is, weapons capable of maneuvering in flight at speeds of Mach 5 or more - since the early 2000s as part of a program of rapid global conventional weapons strike," said the report of the US Congressional Research Service, released in September of this year.

At the same time, the drafters of the report argue that, despite the presence of hypersonic programs in the ground forces as well as in the navy and the Navy, the first tests of American hypersonic systems are planned only for the 2020s (2022–2024).

At the same time, Defense Secretary Mark Esper said earlier that receiving a hypersonic weapon for the US is “a matter of a couple of years.” In September, representatives of the US Army said that in 2023 the first battery equipped with hypersonic weapons should appear in the army.

  • An approximate appearance of the future hypersonic ground complex of the US Army
  • © US Army

The United States has repeatedly expressed concern that Russia is a leader in hypersonic technology. So, in December 2018, after successful trials of the Russian Avangard, the Pentagon official, Colonel Michel Baldanza, already announced the “asymmetry in combat capabilities” in the field of hypersound and the need to overcome them. Moreover, Baldanza, like Robert Carver now, also claimed that the United States allegedly led in the study of hypersonic technologies, but decided not to use them as a weapon.

In August 2019, John Bolton, who at that time held the post of adviser to the President of the United States on national security issues, completely accused Russia of stealing American hypersonic technologies. Later, United States Secretary of Defense Mark Esper announced the need to include all the latest weapons developed by Russia in the new version of START III.

Attempts to “catch up”

As Robert Carver noted in Newsweek's comment, the United States intends to achieve "superiority" in hypersonic technology.

“The Ministry of Defense is the leader in hypersonic research, and the first priority of research, technology and engineering is the deployment of hypersonic systems,” says a Pentagon spokesman. “We continue this work so that there is no doubt about our ability to continue to maintain excellence in all combat environments.”

However, experts believe that such rhetoric is more likely aimed at the American layman, to whom the media and the Pentagon are trying to demonstrate that American technology is no worse than Russian.

“This is done in order to achieve the allocation of funds to the American military-industrial complex,” Yuri Knutov believes. - The second task is to process public opinion so that citizens do not resent that enormous funds were spent on the development of some kind of ephemeral hypersonic weapon. An artificial psychosis is created that justifies such an investment. ”

This year, the United States several times announced achievements in the development of hypersonic systems. However, the finished product was not presented.

In January, for example, the US Navy tested "hyper-velocity" shells. True, it turned out that their speed is only approaching hypersonic, and even then at the initial stage of the flight.

In June, the U.S. Air Force tested the AGM-183A Advanced Rapid Response Weapon (ARRW) rocket at the Edwards Air Force Base in California. But, as it turned out, instead of a rocket, its dummy, suspended from a bomber, was used to check air resistance.

In August, the U.S. Air Force announced successful bench tests of an Arnold-based hypersonic engine. Otherwise, besides ambitious plans, the American armed forces have virtually nothing to present.

So, in October, the US Army published a strategy for modernization until 2035, aimed at achieving superiority over the armed forces of Russia and China. Among the main priorities in this program is the introduction of hypersonic systems.

“We can say that in this area they are qualitatively behind Russia, and now they will try (Russia. - RT ) to overtake,” says Konstantin Blokhin. “Resources allow them to do this, but, as Vladimir Putin said, we will soon be able to present even more advanced weapons than what we previously presented.”

  • US Air Force Experimental Hypersonic Engine Arnold
  • © US Air Force

According to Yuri Knutov, the United States has the ability to create effective hypersonic systems. Washington has both a developed technological base and the necessary funds, however, Moscow will not stand still at this time.

“Today we have the opportunity to maintain an advantage. And on the other hand, we also do not stand still. We are also engaged in advanced developments. In this regard, while the Americans will try to overtake us, we will come up with something new, ”Knutov said.

Source: russiart

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