The U.S. Air Force Association recently held a video conference for the Aerospace Warfare Symposium, according to Voice of America 28.
Mike White, director of the U.S. Department of Defense’s (DoD) Office of Ultra-High Speed, revealed during the videoconference that the development of hypersonic weapons has been made a top priority to counter the Chinese and Russian threats in this area.
White said the Defense Department has developed a modernization strategy for hypersonic weapons to accelerate the development and delivery of transformational warfighting capabilities. The strategy includes a focus on developing hypersonic conventional strike weapons launched in the air, on the ground and at sea to destroy strategically or tactically important targets at sea, along the coast and inland.
It also entails developing the capability to destroy enemy tactical hypersonic attack missiles at various levels; and developing reusable hypersonic systems to perform intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance and strike missions. White said, “Our goal is to submit this capability by the mid-2030s.”
Heath A. Collins of the Air Force Life Cycle Management Center, U.S. Air Force Equipment Command, said they are developing a fast-track prototype program for the AGM-183A air-launched rapid response weapon, advancing gliding UHP The first booster experiment will be ready for implementation next week.
Collins said, “Our program is simultaneously preparing to transition toward production in about a year, so it will be the Air Force’s first air-launched hypersonic weapon.”
Pictured is the U.S. Army firing the M777 howitzer. (Photo Credit: U.S. Army)
Hypersonic technology has been known since the 2000s. But today, in the face of competition from China and Russia, the technology is even more important, becoming an important area of competition for future warfare.
The U.S. military released concept drawings of a new long-range hypersonic weapon last October. This hypersonic weapon can be launched from a mobile platform and deployed quickly to the desired location using tactical trucks. The missiles can reach the top of the atmosphere after launch and remain out of range of air and missile defense systems until they are ready to strike their targets.
U.S. military expert Kris Osborn writes that this will not only give a new face to future warfare, but also ensure that the U.S. maintains a battlefield advantage with other countries that have hypersonic weapons.
Hypersonic Drones can reach the other side of the globe within minutes to monitor enemy forces and send information back in real Time, the article says. At the same time, how to respond to, and defend against, hypersonic weapons will be critical.
Lockheed Martin, which is leading the development of the weapon, said the weapon system consists of four sets of delivery launch platforms, each with two standby hypersonic weapons, and mounted on a modified 40-ton M870 trailer, which will be equipped with a varying number of missiles and have a remote command center.
The launch platform can be linked to the M983A4 heavy tactical truck for rapid deployment to the desired location.
The weapon is capable of flying at speeds in excess of Mach 5, equivalent to traveling more than 60 miles per minute. At the same time, the weapon is extremely accurate, maneuverable and can be ready to strike any location in the world within minutes.
According to U.S. Army plans, in addition to the long-range hypersonic weapon in 2023, the first combat-ready laser weapon system will also be delivered in 2022. The weapon system, a 50 kilowatt (kW) class laser, could improve U.S. soldiers’ defenses against rockets, artillery and mortars, and has the ability to shoot down drones.