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WorldChina's Hypersonic Missiles: How Worried Should the U.S. Be About Futuristic Weapons?

13:45  05 july  2019
13:45  05 july  2019 Source:   newsweek.com

Advanced Russian warship armed with cruise missiles docks in Havana's harbor

Advanced Russian warship armed with cruise missiles docks in Havana's harbor One of the Russian navy’s most advanced warships docked at a port in Havana’s harbor on Monday.

China and Russia are pursuing hypersonic weapons — and the US can't defend against them. " The U . S . focus relative to hypersonic weapons is on the delivery of conventional weapons while Russia and China are more likely to use hypersonic missiles for nuclear payloads," agreed George

But even China ' s new weapon is less fearsome than it might appear to be . Ironically, its own sophistication holds it back. Pentagon officials in early January leaked news of the U . S . Navy' s own hypersonics test, this one involving a Navy warship firing hypersonic shells during a summer 2018

China's Hypersonic Missiles: How Worried Should the U.S. Be About Futuristic Weapons?© YURI KADOBNOV/AFP/Getty This file photo shows Russian MiG-31 jets carrying hypersonic Kinzhal (Dagger) missiles over Red Square during the Victory Day military parade in Moscow, Russia, on May 9, 2018.

A recent propaganda video released by the Chinese military has brought one of the country's most advanced and threatening technologies back to the fore—hypersonic weaponry.

Hypersonic weapons travel at incredible speed and—unlike even the most advanced ballistic missiles—can maneuver in flight. This gives the weapons enormous range and makes them much harder to track and stop.

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China and Russia lead race to make hypersonic missiles . The U . S . military is worried about China and Russia developing hypersonic missiles . President Putin explained that Russia needs the weapons because of actions other countries have taken against it.

The U . S ., China and Russia have stepped up efforts to develop hypersonic weapons , which are capable of speeds five times the speed of sound and could Last month, Mike Griffin, the Pentagon' s undersecretary of defense for research and engineering, said he was worried the U . S . was losing its

The U.S., Russia and China are all investing heavily in hypersonic technologies. However, the Pentagon has been the slowest to jump on the bandwagon and military chiefs are warning that the U.S. could be left behind by its authoritarian adversaries, at least when it comes to nuclear-capable hypersonics.

The U.S. still maintains by far the most powerful military on Earth, supported by a military budget larger than that of the next seven biggest spending nations combined. As such, America's rivals must consider intelligent methods of leveling the playing field and—at least on a local or regional level—upending long-held U.S. military hegemony.

This is especially true for China, where the government has invested huge sums in bringing its outdated military up to scratch. Beijing is rapidly transitioning to a potent modern force, but one still inferior to the U.S.

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Hypersonic missiles – a technology that could be deployed as soon as the mid-2020 s – sound like the sort of exotic menace a villain would dream up But the U . S . wasn't alone in its interest in developing hypersonic capabilities. " China was watching and learning, and at some point started investing in

“ China and Russia are pursuing hypersonic weapons because their speed, altitude and maneuverability may defeat most missile defense The U . S . military has been busily ramping up its hypersonic weapons capabilities. AIR Force sets sights on high-tech laser weapons .

Nonetheless, military spending has been geared towards exploiting U.S. weaknesses and dominating East Asia. Beijing is hoping that its hypersonic weapons will form a key element in this disruptive strategy.

There are two types of hypersonic weapon—cruise missiles (HCMs) and glide vehicles (HGVs). Both are able to travel at speeds of Mach 1 or higher—around 3,800 miles per hour—and can maneuver during flight. This makes them difficult to shoot down, but also means it is very difficult to predict what target they will hit.

HGVs are launched by a ballistic missile, but the hypersonic component itself does not have an engine. HCMs can be launched by other vehicles such as fighter jets or naval vessels, and power themselves with internal engines. Both weapons can be armed with either nuclear or conventional warheads.

China is working on both types of weapon. According to Douglas Barrie, a senior fellow for military aerospace at the International Institute for Strategic Studies, Beijing is within "a few years" of fielding an HGV.

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However, the weapon is not a “ hypersonic weapon ” in the sense that it is an air-breathing cruise missile based on scramjet technology—though U . S . Defense Secretary Jim Mattis noted that the introduction of weapons like the Kinzhal do not fundamentally change the military balance between

Such hypersonic weapons , intended to attack targets many times faster than the speed of sound For example, American commanders worried that an adversary could keep American warships or The U . S . is seeking conventional hypersonic weapons , not nuclear ones. But China and Russia are

China already fields a daunting missile arsenal, whether subsonic, supersonic or ballistic. For enemies, this already challenging scenario is exacerbated by the introduction of HGVs.

As Barrie told Newsweek, HGVs "fly at an altitude not presently well covered by radar systems, and given their speed also potentially cut down reaction and decision time on the part of the defender. Were [China] to go ahead and also field hypersonic cruise missiles then this defensive picture would become only more complex."

"Any system that reduces reaction and decision time is potentially further destabilising," Barrie added. China's interest in HGVs in part would seem to be driven by the desire to counter missile defence systems that are already or could be deployed in the Indo-Pacific theatre."

Hypersonic weapons will form a key element of Chinese military strategy. U.S. force projection depends on regional bases and aircraft carriers. As James Bosbotinis—the co-CEO of U.K.-based JB Associates and an expert in maritime and aerial security—explained, it is these "high-value" targets that hypersonic weapons will focus on, particularly where evading anti-missile defenses is required.

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That’ s a hypersonic weapon ,” he said. Hyten told Inhofe, “both Russia and China are aggressively pursuing hypersonic capabilities. Hyten failed to address the exact areas where the U . S . is behind the eight ball in hypersonics when compared to Russia and China , in fear that such knowledge could

Russian President Vladimir Putin threatens to target the U . S . with hypersonic missiles if the U . S . deploys Putin was rather more vague about when these super- weapons would be ready for deployment. They should abandon illusions, we will always respond with a reciprocal response

"Leadership facilities, key command and control centers, underground facilities, air bases, time-critical targets such as mobile missile launchers" and maritime targets will all be on the list, Bosbotinis told Newsweek.

Once deployed, the weapons will "significantly enhance" Chinese strike capabilities in East Asia, Bosbotinis continued. The DF-17 HGV (known by the Pentagon as WU-17), for example, has a reported range of between 1,118 and 1,553 miles. This system is expected to be operational by 2020, at which point it will be the world's first HGV put into service.

Though daunting, Bosbotinis noted that hypersonic weapons "are not a panacea nor invincible. Long-range precision strikes are dependent on a supporting 'kill chain' of intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance assets, which are themselves vulnerable."

Furthermore, the U.S. is hot on China's heels. Military officials may be concerned that America is not leading the hypersonic charge, but they have been far from idle.

Images have already been released of the AGM-183A Advanced Rapid Response Weapon (ARRW), which will be launched from U.S. bombers and reportedly can reach speeds up to Mach 20—four times the fastest Russian or Chinese weapon. The weapon is currently undergoing testing.

China denies U.S. accusations of South China Sea missile tests

China denies U.S. accusations of South China Sea missile tests China's Defence Ministry on Friday denied U.S. accusations that the Chinese military had recently carried out missile tests in the disputed South China Sea, saying instead that they had held routine drills that involved the firing of live ammunition. require(["medianetNativeAdOnArticle"], function (medianetNativeAdOnArticle) { medianetNativeAdOnArticle.getMedianetNativeAds(true); }); The Pentagon said on Tuesday the missile launch was "disturbing" and contrary to Chinese pledges that it would not militarise the strategic waterway. A U.S.

Russia’ s (and China ’ s too) new “ hypersonic ” weapons are meant to invalidate this assumption because it has the capability of NOT traveling in a Russia has to worry about the U . S ., Europe and NATO who are in an offensive posture. Russia developed an advanced weapon to get the U . S . to

So, existing missiles can each tackle part of the problem, but not the whole problem of tackling Zircon. U . S . missile defenses will likely need significant hardware and software upgrades to Zircon is just one example of a slew of hypersonic weapons under development by the U . S ., Russia, and China .

Another project—the Hypersonic Conventional Strike Weapon—will reportedly put another aerial-launched hypersonic missile in service by 2022, while the secretive Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency is also working on the Tactical Boost Glide and Hypersonic Air-breathing Weapon Concept weapons.

And while the U.S. might be behind China and Russia in nuclear-capable hypersonic weapons, it is thought that the Pentagon still has the edge on those carrying conventional warheads. According to Business Insider, this is more in line with U.S. military doctrine, though conventional hypersonics require more accuracy and thus more research.

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