After years of silence, a U.S. Army spokesman finally disclosed that the Army’s Long Range Hypersonic Weapons (LRHW) have a range of more than 2,775 kilometers, and that this figure could be comparable to the U.S. Navy’s Conventional Prompt Strike (CPS), Breaking Defense reported on December 12. Breaking Defense analyzes that this figure means that if Taipei is surrounded by communist forces, the U.S. Army in Guam could also bomb and attack them. The report noted that the U.S. Army’s
A U.S. Army spokesman confirmed that the LRHW’s range is well over 2,775 kilometers, and that such a range makes anything possible, the report noted. The Army has been silent for years, unwilling to explain the true range of the LRHW; now, after coordination among the top brass of the U.S. military services for the Very High Speed of Sound program, the Army has for the first time loosened its tongue to explain the LRHW information.
In the report, it is thought that if the mainland violates Taiwan by force, but U.S. allies in the Asia-Pacific region refuse to use U.S. territory or airspace, the U.S. Army in Guam can also use LRHW to attack the communist forces surrounding Taipei. However, the real world is that Washington’s allies allow U.S. missile units to use their territory, while artillery companies located in Japan and South Korea are able to strike targets up to 1,000 miles inside mainland China. Even the U.S. Navy’s CPS, as it is known, is more capable of firing missiles from submarines or warships in the Pacific to support Taiwan’s military.
Currently, the Department of Defense, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency and the Office of the Secretary of Defense have more than 70 programs to develop and procure polar sonic weapons. The U.S. Congressional Audit Service (Government Accountability Office) called on the Pentagon to coordinate the development and procurement of polar sonic weapons, clarifying the division of roles and responsibilities to avoid duplication of projects and wasteful costs or technical errors.
The report further analyzes that although the Army’s draft statement seems to only explain the land-based version of the LRHW range; but the Navy’s sea-launched CPS weapons use very similar rocket instantaneous propulsion and polar sonic glide body, so the two are unlikely to have a range difference. In other words, if the Army’s LRHW has a range of 2,775 kilometers, the Navy’s version certainly does.
On the other hand, the U.S. Air Force is developing a number of very fast weapons that can be launched from warplanes, and this requires different engineering approaches and produces different ranges.
As explained in the report, compared to the Army’s vehicle-based launchers, the Navy’s ship-based launchers and strategic bombers are undoubtedly more mobile and can be launched in international waters and airspace without regard to allied attitudes; however, the advantage of land-based launchers is that they are cheaper and can use terrain to evade adversary attacks, which cannot be achieved at sea or in the air. For this reason, supporters of the Army’s LRHW believe that missiles can play an important supporting role, making up for the lack of naval and air force weapons. As the Pentagon’s budget becomes tighter, the debate between the three branches of the military intensifies.