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U.S. in hypersonic weapon ‘arms race’ with China -Air Force secretary -Breaking


© Reuters. FILE PHOTO. The US Navy and the US Army conduct a static fire testing of the first stage, 34.5″, of their newly-developed hypersonic missile. This test was conducted in Promontory (Utah), USA.

Mike Stone

WASHINGTON, (Reuters) – The United States is engaged in an arms race with China to create the most deadly hypersonic weapon, according to the secretary of U.S. Air Force. This comes as Beijing and Washington test and build more high-speed weapons.

“There is an arm race not necessarily to increase numbers but to improve quality,” Air Force Secretary Frank Kendall stated during a Reuters interview. The arms race has been ongoing for quite some while. It’s been very aggressively pursued by the Chinese.

The top U.S. military official, General Mark Milley confirmed that a Chinese hypersonic weapon test was conducted in October. Military experts believe this shows Beijing’s desire to acquire an Earth-orbiting satellite to bypass American missile defenses.

The Pentagon held multiple hypersonic weapon tests this year with mixed results. A booster rocket motor was successfully tested by the Navy in October to propel a hypersonic weapon-laden launch vehicle.

Hypersonic weapons move in the upper atmosphere at speeds more than five times that of sound or approximately 6,200km (3,853 mile) per hour.

Kendall observed that, while U.S. funds have been focused on Afghanistan and Iraqi military personnel are not paying attention to hypersonic weapons. He said, “This doesn’t mean we’ve done everything. But we haven’t done enough.”

As the Pentagon enters the 2023 annual budget cycle, Kendall hopes to raise funds with the retirement of older and expensive-to-maintain systems in favor of new systems, including hypersonic development programs.

The A-10 is my favorite aircraft. C-130 has proven to be a very efficient and capable aircraft for many different missions. MQ-9s are very efficient in counterterrorism. These are still valuable, but no of these things scare China,” Kendall explained. Kendall was speaking about a combat plane, which is more than 40 years old, as well as a widely-used drone and cargo plane.

Contractors in defense hope to profit from the transition to hypersonic arms not only by creating them but also by developing new detection or defeat mechanisms.

Armes manufacturers Lockheed Martin Corp (NYSE:) Northrop-Grumman Raytheon Technologies (NYSE 🙂 and Corp (NYSE 🙂 Corp both promoted their hypersonic weapons programmes to investors when the focus shifted from the emerging weapon class to the future.

However, Pentagon head of research and Development has stated that defense contractors should reduce the final cost of hypersonic weaponry. The next generation of superfast missiles is currently being built at a high price of tens to millions each.

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