The U.S. Department of Defense says it has made the development of hypersonic weapons a top priority to counter the threat posed by the Chinese Communist Party and Russia in this area.
Mike White, director of the Office of Ultra-High Speed, led by the undersecretary of defense for research and engineering, made the statement during a video appearance at the U.S. Air Force Association’s Aerospace Warfare Symposium.
White said the Defense Department has developed a modernization strategy for hypersonic weapons to accelerate the development and delivery of transformational warfare capabilities. It includes developing air-, ground- and sea-launched UHOS weapons for the destruction of tactically significant maritime, littoral and inland targets; developing the capability to destroy enemy tactical UHOS missiles at various levels; and using reusable UHOS systems for intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance and strike missions.
We will deliver strike capabilities and multi-layered UHR defense capabilities to the warfighter in the early and mid-2020s,” White said. In the mid- to late-2020s the terminal phase will begin first and then the glide phase. For reusable systems, our goal is to submit that capability in the mid-2030s.”
Brig. Gen. Heath A. Collins of the Air Force Life Cycle Management Center at U.S. Air Force Equipment Command said his organization is developing a fast-track prototype program for the AGM-183A air-launched rapid response weapon, advancing glide He said his organization is developing a fast-track prototype program for the AGM-183A air-launched rapid response weapon to advance the development of a gliding hypersonic weapon, and will be ready to implement the first booster experiment next week. He said, “Our program is simultaneously preparing to transition to production in about a year, so it will be the Air Force’s first air-launched hypersonic weapon.”
James Weber, senior scientist for ultra-high speed at the U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory, said the Defense Department has invested about $1.7 billion in ultra-high speed weapon development over the past 25 years.