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Why The US Needs Hypersonic Arms and Defenses

Marco Wertheimer

Posted on July 24, 2021 22:02

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To best guarantee its security, the US must quickly develop hypersonic military assets

 

Since the outset of the Cold War, the Pentagon has gone through intermittent stages of investment in maneuverable hypersonic weapons. Each time, it has mulled their large-scale development, only to pull back upon encountering significant technological obstacles.

Now, however, with major hypersonic mechanical advances achieved and rival powers projected to have hypersonic arsenals in the near future, the US must finally develop hypersonic missiles and defenses of its own. 

Before exploring why the US needs hypersonic weapons and defenses, one must first understand what hypersonic weapons are. Hypersonic objects travel at speeds of at least five times the speed of sound. Technically, ballistic missiles have been used by militaries worldwide and traveled at hypersonic speeds for decades.

However, current hypersonic missiles reach hypersonic velocities flying in significantly flatter trajectories, making them quicker to reach their targets, tougher to detect, and more maneuverable. Hypersonic weapons presently come in two forms: Boost-glide and scramjet. Boost-glide arms use rocket boosters to shoot upwards before using a gliding vehicle to descend through the atmosphere. Conversely, scramjet missiles use high-speed engines to power their flight. 

One significant reason for developing hypersonic arms is the rapid growth of rival powers’ hypersonic arsenals. The fact that Russia already has operational hypersonic missiles and China has almost developed them necessitates this development immediately.

Considering the risk that Russia could hedge its hypersonic missiles edge against the US’ formidable ballistic missile-interception abilities and that China’s hypersonic arms could discourage US military action in the Pacific, the US must develop hypersonic missiles.

A successful plan to develop American hypersonic arms would allocate significant funds to hypersonic boost-glide and scramjet arms construction, as well as a Hypersonic and Ballistic Tracking Space Sensor Network to help guide American hypersonic missiles and intercept enemy hypersonic projectiles.

When deciding how to divide funds between boost-glide and scramjet hypersonic missiles, one must recognize that they both possess distinct advantages. For instance, boost-glide arms can carry larger warheads and strike further-reaching targets from land and sea. Meanwhile, the US military could exploit the smaller size of scramjet missiles to launch them from bombers, in addition to land and sea launch bases. 

It is further imperative that the US develop a Hypersonic and Ballistic Tracking Space Sensor Network to maximize the accuracy of its hypersonic missiles and help shoot down those of its enemies. Whereas the US is now defenseless against hypersonic missiles, it could become adequately prepared to track and shoot down such missiles by launching hundreds of satellites capable of tracing them.

The US could further use these satellites to help track and shoot down enemy hypersonic arms with laser weapons, whose projectiles’ light speed and pinpoint accuracy equips them  perfectly to defend the US from enemy hypersonic missiles. Thus, by spending $15 billion to construct hypersonic missiles, tracking satellite networks and anti-hypersonic lasers over the next five fiscal years, the US could obtain the hypersonic capabilities it needs to guarantee its security. 

 

 

 

Marco Wertheimer

Posted on July 24, 2021 22:02

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