Is it possible for the US to accelerate the development of hypersonic weapons?

This post was published in RT. The point of view expressed in this article is authorial and do not necessarily reflect BM`s editorial stance.


MOSCOW, (BM) – The US Ground Forces, together with the Navy, intend to conduct three flight tests of the C-HGB (Common Hypersonic Glide Body) hypersonic soaring unit next year in order to have time to put it into service in 2023. General Neil Thurgood stated this, noting that an accelerated test schedule is needed to catch up with Russia in the field of hypersonic weapons.

“I just want to say that the flight test program is very aggressive, and we need to be aggressive to keep pace and really compete with our closest rivals, namely Russia and China,” Thurgood told Defense News on August 5 after a symposium on space and missile defense. defense.

He stressed that if the ground forces want to adopt the Block I version in 2023, each of the upcoming tests must be successful.

We are conducting tests on indicators such as range, speed, accuracy and lethality,” explained Thurgood.

In addition, he emphasized that the very program of development and testing of hypersonic weapons should be “radically” accelerated.

“Although before we, in fact, conducted or carried out almost one flight test in three years, next year we intend to conduct several flight tests at once,” he added.

According to the general, in the next stages of testing, not only engineering work will be carried out, but also training and education of personnel to work with hypersonic weapons.

“It’s not just about pressing the red button to make the rocket fly wherever it wants. The point is in the processes associated with the use of missile weapons, in the definition of targets, in how we perform tasks, and in the need to work out all this at the speed with which we will conduct operations,” said Thurgood.

A joint project

The C-HGB hypersonic soaring unit is a guided warhead equipped with guidance systems and a thermal shield and launched using a ballistic missile.

Its development is carried out with the participation of the US Army and the US Navy. Navy specialists are involved in design and development, while troops are in production development. It is assumed that the naval version of this weapon will be launched from Virginia-class submarines, while the army will receive its own mobile launcher.

Previously, the US Air Force also participated in the creation of the C-HGB, but they left this project to concentrate on their own program of hypersonic missiles launched from aircraft AGM-183A ARRW (Air-Launched Rapid Response Weapon – air-launched rapid response weapon. – RT).

In March, the Pentagon announced the successful tests of the C-HGB, which took place at the US Navy’s Pacific Missile Range, located on the Hawaiian island of Kauai. On August 4, the US military circulated a video of a test flight, which shows how the hypersonic unit hits a training target.

It is worth noting that the Pentagon representatives did not disclose what speed the C-HGB unit developed during the tests and what distance it covered. At the same time, in the past, the American military department claimed that this weapon would allow the US army and navy “to hit targets at a distance of hundreds or even thousands of miles, and its speed will reach Mach 17.”

Also, representatives of the defense department did not disclose the radius of the C-HGB defeat, citing the secrecy of this data, but noted that the weapon was “very accurate” at the distance that it needed to cover.

It is worth noting that Donald Trump, who previously referred to the C-HGB as a “super duper missile”, during a June speech at the West Point Military Academy, said that its speed is 17 times faster than any other American missile weapon, and it itself can hit targets at a distance of 1,000 miles with a deviation of only 14 inches.

Expectations and forecasts

According to analysts, the United States is trying to “concentrate its resources” in order to close the gap with the Russian Federation and China in the field of hypersound, but plans to supply such weapons to the troops in three years look “extremely optimistic.”

“Land and sea hypersonic missiles are still raw, although the funding for this is quite large. It is unlikely that by this time they will succeed,” military expert Yuri Knutov said in an interview with RT.

The editor-in-chief of Arsenal of the Fatherland magazine, Viktor Murakhovsky, in an interview with RT, also expressed doubt that in 2023 the American armed forces will have combat-ready hypersonic weapons.

“If you look at the Pentagon’s budget for next year, then according to this document it is not noticeable that Washington is making any special efforts to accelerate hypersonic weapons programs, funds for them are allocated in a planned manner. It is known that there are four programs: two programs for the Navy, Air Force and Ground Forces. The most successful among them is the program of creating a rocket for the Air Force, which will be tested next year. As for the missile with a hypersonic gliding unit for the ground forces, I strongly doubt that they will have time to put them into service by 2023,” the expert concluded.

By the time the United States puts into service a combat-ready hypersound, Russia will already have effective means of defense, Knutov believes.

“The Russian Federation is already shooting at targets, for which it uses missiles of the S-300PT anti-aircraft missile system of the first modification. They have similar hypersonic characteristics. Next year, the S-500 complex is to be adopted, which will fight anti-missile missiles and satellites in near space, hypersonic targets,” Knutov says.

Recall that in June, Russian President Vladimir Putin announced that an effective means of intercepting hypersonic munitions was being created for the Russian army.

“So far, since 2018, no one has had this (hypersonic. – ed.) weapon. Yet. It will appear. But I think that we will be able to pleasantly surprise our partners with the fact that when they have these weapons, with a high degree of probability we will have a means of fighting these weapons,” the Russian leader said.

According to the president, thanks to progress in the field of military hypersound, Russia has found itself in a unique position, having received the opportunity to timely develop systems capable of dealing with enemy vehicles flying at a speed of more than Mach 5.

“I repeat once again: with a high degree of probability, we will have a means of fighting hypersonic weapons by the time the leading countries of the world have this most hypersonic weapon,” Putin stressed.


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