The United States intends in the coming year to accelerate the active phase of testing the developed hypersonic weapons. This was stated by the deputy director of hypersonic development in the department of research and development of the Pentagon, Michael White.

“In fact, over the next 12 months we will see a further increase in the pace of development of offensive hypersonic systems,” White said during an expert discussion held online at Defense One.

According to White, the successful flight tests conducted on March 19 are a promising start that will allow the Pentagon to move from the conceptual stage of the project to full-fledged development with a large number of test launches.

“Within the framework of a number of programs planned by us, a test demonstration will be carried out within 12 months, and then the transition will begin from the development of the concept of the weapons complex to its direct creation,” the official explained.

Vice Admiral John Hill, head of the Missile Defense Agency, who participated in the seminar, added that the Pentagon will also pay attention to issues of protection against hypersonic weapons.

This will require an improvement in the US sensor architecture, as well as its expansion in outer space, Admiral Hill noted.

The chief editor of Arsenal of the Fatherland magazine, Viktor Murakhovsky, said in a conversation with RT that even an accelerated pace of testing would not allow the Pentagon to narrow the gap between the US and Russia, which already has various types of hypersonic weapons in its arsenal.

“Apparently, the United States wants to quickly complete the tests of the AGM-183A aeroballistic missile, which should be put into service by the end of 2021 - the beginning of 2022. It must be understood that the United States in the field of hypersonic weapons is in a catch-up position, since Russia already has similar systems. Even if they have the first sample of such weapons, then by the next year the fourth Zircon hypersonic product will arrive in the Russian troops, ”the expert noted.

American sound

Currently, several types of the US Armed Forces are developing their own hypersonic weapons. Ground forces are developing as part of the LRHW project (long-range hypersonic weapons), these missiles will be launched from ground-based mobile installations. The program budget is $ 5.3 billion, the first samples should go into service by 2023.

In turn, the CPS project is being developed for the US Navy, which will be a hypersonic cruise missile launched from Ohio class submarines. $ 5.3 billion was also allocated for this program.

The U.S. Air Force, together with Lockheed Martin Corporation, is developing the ARRW (Air-Launched Rapid Response Weapon - Airborne Rapid Weapon). This project is a rocket with a detachable floating hypersonic unit.

The first tests of a rocket having the AGM-183A nomenclature took place in June 2019, however, test launches with warheads were not carried out, only the aerodynamic qualities of the product were tested. According to the plans of the developer, the rocket should be ready by the end of 2022.

It is planned to equip these missiles with strategic B-52 bombers or Rockwell B-1 Lancer aircraft, if at the time the product is accepted for service they will still be in the ranks of the US Air Force.

The fact that the United States is developing its own hypersonic weapons was announced in mid-May by President Donald Trump.

  • B-52 bomber with AGM-183A ARRW prototype rocket
  • © US Air Force / Edwards Air Force Base

“I call it a super duper rocket. And I heard recently that it is 17 times faster than those that are available now, if we take for comparison the fastest missile that is currently available, ”Trump said, without specifying which of the hypersonic weapons projects he has in mind.

A military expert Yuri Knutov in a conversation with RT noted that such a large number of competing programs disperses the forces of designers and slows down the process of debugging basic technologies that allow missiles to reach speeds above 5 Machs.

“Initially, the US planned six projects to create hypersonic weapons. But in order to somehow get this thing off the ground, we decided to shut down some of them and concentrate resources on the most promising ones, ”said the expert.

Russian defense

However, by the time the United States is ready to adopt hypersonic missiles, Russia is likely to have a means of dealing with them. This was announced on June 14 in the News of the Week program by Russian President Vladimir Putin.

“It will appear (hypersonic weapons. - RT ). But I think that we will be able to pleasantly surprise our partners with the fact that when they have these weapons, with a high degree of probability we will have a means of combating these weapons, ”said the President of Russia, adding that at present, to counter hypersonic missiles no one can. 

  • Pentagon Building
  • AFP
  • © STAFF

“The speeds are such that it is impossible to take them. This is the uniqueness of our current situation. I repeat once again: with a high degree of probability we will have a means of combating hypersonic weapons by the time that the leading countries of the world have this very hypersonic weapon, ”Putin said.

Recall that today, Russia is the only country in the world that has hypersonic weapons. The leading example of such weapons is the Avangard planning block mounted on intercontinental ballistic missiles. In turn, the Russian aerospace forces are equipped with the X-47M2 Dagger aviation missile system, which is launched from the MiG-31 fighter.

At the same time, the Russian Navy is testing a 3M22 Zircon hypersonic missile, which can be put into service by 2022 already.

At the same time, according to Yuri Knutov, already now Russia has some types of weapons that can successfully intercept hypersonic missiles, the speed of which will not exceed 10 Machs.

“If the speed is within 10 Machs, then Russian anti-aircraft missile systems, for example, the S-400, S-300 of the latest modification, S-500, S-350 Vityaz, will be able to intercept such missiles. Even now, some of them will cope with such a task, ”the expert concluded.