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Wednesday, May 22, 2024

US stresses urgency to develop road-mobile hypersonic weapons

With China and Russia already rapidly developing their hypersonic arsenal, Pentagon has stressed the need to start producing its own to retain its position at the top.

According to senior US weapons developers, the urgency of the Pentagon’s need to accelerate and deploy hypersonic weapons is severe, expressing extreme concern about Russian and Chinese weapons.

At a Space and Missile Defense Symposium in the US, Robert Strider, the deputy director of the Army Hypersonic Project Office, told an audience, “We are number three in this race. We have to catch up.”

Strider referred to fast-emerging Russian and Chinese progress with hypersonic missiles, which is a concern often discussed by Pentagon leaders.

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This concern is likely a primary inspiration for the Army’s current success in developing an emerging weapon called “Dark Eagle.” The new missile, known as the Long-Range Hypersonic Weapon (LRHW), will reportedly be used in war by 2023.

“Our all up round is a thirty-four-inch booster which will be common between the Army and the Navy,” Strider said. “We will shoot exactly the same thing the Navy shoots out of a sub or ship.”

By this time, Strider explained, the new LRHW will be able to travel aboard an Air Force C-17 Globemaster III to a hostile forward location, set up for a launch, and destroy enemy targets at hypersonic speeds before returning to home base.

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This level of independent warfare ability with hypersonic missiles, expected by 2023, will be preceded by a series of what Strider called Joint Flight Campaigns involving tests, assessments, and technological refinements of the weapon.

“We took existing trailers and modified them with hydraulics and electronics and everything associated with being a launcher,” Strider explained. “We know what these systems are capable of.”

Most significantly of all, having a mobile, expeditionary hypersonic attack capability in this fashion would surely make launch locations much more difficult to locate and destroy. An enemy might not have the ability to find that launch point due to the LRHW.