Washington: The United States has started taking rapid steps in the development of the hypersonic missiles, given the Russian and Chinese efforts to acquire them. Heather Williams, the US Airforce Secretary, assured that the development of the Hypersonic missile, capable of Mach 5 speed, is in its final stages. The Missile Defence Review published by President Trump last month also mentioned the development of the Hypersonic missiles.
John Hinton of the US strategic command had mentioned about the increasing Hypersonic capabilities of Russia and China in an interview last year. He had, at that time, also expressed concerns that the United States could not counter these weapons. Within a few days of this, the US Airforce awarded a contract worth $920 million to the leading weapon manufacturer, Lockheed Martin to develop Hypersonic missiles. It has been revealed that along with this, another leading company Raytheon also is developing a Hypersonic Defence System.
Against this background, the information given by US Airforce Secretary, Heather Williams attracts attention. Williams made this statement regarding the US Hypersonic missiles while speaking at a US study group. US Airforce Secretary Heather Williams arrested ‘Per the efforts of Russia and China to acquire hypersonic missiles, the United States also has increased its speed. The United States will soon complete development of the hypersonic missile capable of Mach 5 speeds.’
Missiles capable of travelling at speeds five times more than that of sound are termed as Hypersonic. The United States is developing two different hypersonic weapon systems. One is the Tactical Boost Glide Weapon, and the other is from the Hypersonic Air Breathing Weapon Concept type.
The Lockheed Martin has been awarded the contract for development of the Tactical Boost Glide weapon. The company will be developing Hypersonic Cruise Missiles. Moreover, a Hypersonic system, Air Launched Rapid Response Weapon is also being developed by the US air force, and a provision of nearly $260 million will be made for it.
Russia and China have both claimed that they have advanced Hypersonic Missiles and these will be deployed with the defence forces within one year. The Hypersonic Brahmos missile developed in collaboration with India has already been inducted in the Russian defence forces.