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US Working On Hypersonic Weapons


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DARP has a goal for hypersonic weapons capable of both offense and for anti hypersonic defense.



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Welcome back to the new nuclear arms race.

Welcome to the new nuclear arms race


If you missed out on the first nuclear arms race, you’re in luck. It’s back.

On Friday, the Trump administration announced the U.S. would withdraw from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty, a landmark deal signed in 1987 by President Reagan.

This treaty marked the beginning of the end of the Cold War. INF and follow-on agreements led to the demise of thousands of nuclear weapons in Russia that used to be aimed at us.

The very next day, Russian President Vladimir Putin said his country would follow suit:

“Our answer will be symmetrical,” Putin said. “Our American partners declared that they will suspend their participation in the treaty, so we will suspend ours as well. They said they would start research and development, and we will do the same.”

Of course. This is how an arms race starts.


See rest here:




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One aspect: hypersonic cruise missiles for USAF:

Scramjet-Powered Cruise Missile Emerges As New U.S. Priority

Fielding an operational scramjet-powered cruise missile has emerged as a new priority for the U.S. Defense Department’s proliferating portfolio of maneuvering hypersonic weapons.   

Senior defense officials are putting together a program to develop an operational follow-on to DARPA’s Hypersonic Air-breathing Weapon Concept (HAWC), which currently supports competing scramjet-powered missile demonstrators designed by Lockheed Martin/Aerojet Rocketdyne and Raytheon/Northrop Grumman Innovation Systems teams.

“We are in the process of trying to figure out what [an operational program] would look like,” says Mike White, assistant director for hypersonics in the office of the under secretary of defense for research and engineering.

As the U.S. military rushed after 2017 to respond to Russian and Chinese hypersonic advances, air-breathing hypersonic cruise missiles fell to the bottom of the priority list. Funding for operational programs favored boost-glide technology over the seemingly less mature field of weapons powered by scramjets (supersonic combustion ramjets).

But that assumption is being challenged. Along with the flight-test experience accumulated a decade ago by the Air Force Research Laboratory’s (AFRL) X-51 scramjet vehicle, recent ground tests and simulations indicate scramjet technology is more advanced than previously understood. In September, the AFRL announced it had achieved thrust levels over 13,000 lb. with a Northrop-designed engine at speeds “above Mach 4” in a hypersonic wind tunnel. In June, Raytheon reported the maturity of its scramjet-powered HAWC demonstrator had exceeded that of its boost-glide design.

In December 2018, Michael Griffin, under secretary of defense for research and engineering, described hypersonic cruise missiles as “further out” than boost-glide weapons. But the technology advanced so quickly that another official, Air Force acquisition chief Will Roper, concluded seven months later the HAWC program would be “a nearer-term not a far-term capability.”

“We’d like to see HAWC transition to a fully operational system,” says Mark Lewis, the Defense Department’s director of research and engineering for modernization. “It’s probably the issue that our hypersonic team is spending most time on right now.”..[read on]



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And now acting US Navy secretary comes close to calling a national emergency--the "hypersonics gap"?

SecNav Tells Fleet Hypersonic Competition Demands ‘Sputnik Moment;’ Glide Body Test Set
A new Navy memo by acting Secretary Thomas Modly calls for greatly increased funding for hypersonics.

PENTAGON: In a memo sent Friday [Jan. 31] to the entire Navy, acting Navy Secretary Thomas Modly compared the development of hypersonic weapons by China and Russia to the “Sputnik Moment” of 1957, outlining a schedule for the Navy to conduct its next experiment on its hypersonic glide body technology.

The memo, Modly’s ninth “Vector” sent weekly to the entire force, says “this historic hindsight should heighten our awareness that major technological breakthroughs such as hypersonic weapons can destabilize the global security environment and pose an existential threat to our nation.”

To keep pace, Modly said the Navy will conduct a flight experiment later this year to demonstrate the Navy- designed Hypersonic Glide Body.

The Pentagon’s hypersonic research has been shrouded in some mystery as the military and defense industry rush to keep abreast of advancements Chinese and Russian leaders have boasted of in recent months.

Modly writes that, after the Sputnik launch, the United States “increased sponsored research and development spending to a height of 3.6 percent of GDP in 1965,” followed by the development of three generations of intercontinental ballistic missiles between 1957 and 1962.

That kind of quick turnaround is virtually impossible in today’s defense acquisition circles, where it takes years to get even the most uncontroversial program off the ground. Given the flat defense budget set to be unveiled next month, and the promise of little to no growth in upcoming budgets given the spiraling national debt, Modly’s incantation of the growth in research budgets is sure to strike a chord inside the Pentagon, where service squabbling over individual slices of the pie have already begun.

The Navy is also kicking off a study on “refining future basing strategies and launch platform options” for hypersonic weapons that will be ready by the time the fiscal year 2022 budget is submitted in early 2021, “clearly marking our path to achieving greater hypersonics tube inventories in the fleet.”

Navy leadership has in recent months floated the idea of incorporating conventional prompt strike weapons aboard Arleigh Burke and Zumwalt-class destroyers.

“Possible applications of hypersonic technologies have already changed the nature of the battlespace, much as nuclear technology did in the past century,” Modly wrote. “That is why when it comes to hypersonic weapons, our command today must be “All Ahead Full.”

Overall, the DoD’s proposed budget through fiscal 2024 calls for over $10 billion in hypersonic weapons development, with the Air Force and Army also pushing technologies ahead as quickly as possible.

Speaking with reporters at the Center for Strategic and International Studies this week, Defense Secretary Mark Esper said the DoD “nearly doubled its long-term investment — almost $5 billion more in FY 2020 — in hypersonics alone in the next five years. And our 2021 budget will be even stronger.”

Over the past year, Russian leader Vladimir Putin has boasted of the operational deployment of Russia’s Avangard hypersonic glide vehicle, while China has said its Starry Sky-2 hypersonic glide vehicle is capable of evading US missile defense systems. It’s unclear how much of that is true, but they two countries have clearly invested heavily in the technology, alarming US and NATO military planners.

In the 2020 budget passed in December, Congress allocated $100 million to stand up a Joint Hypersonics Transition Office to pursue an “integrated science and technology roadmap for hypersonics” pulling in universities and other research institutes to push research...

"Mr. President, we must not allow a hypersonics gap!"