US could kill Russian hypersonic missiles in the coming months
PANAGYURISHTE, (BM) – Russian hypersonic missiles, especially the Avangard, are the “hot potato” that occupies the military on both sides of the ocean. And since one country has developed and owns them (Russia) and the other country is lagging in their development (USA), the question arises – can the United States protect itself from Russian hypersonic missiles? Does the United States have interception systems capable of “catching” hypersonic missiles?
Hypersonic missiles and intercontinental ballistic missiles are intended for a single purpose – to inflict severe damage at the point of impact. Both missiles are capable of carrying nuclear warheads with different strike power.
The main differences between a hypersonic missile and an intercontinental ballistic missile are four. They are the height at which they fly, flight speed and approach to the target, and the time it takes from launching to hitting the target.
In one of these four differences, it is clear that the Pentagon can intercept a hypersonic missile, despite their formidable purpose and the Pentagon’s lag in their development.
The hypersonic rocket has a weakness
The intercontinental ballistic missile flies at a higher altitude than the hypersonic one. Simultaneously, the hypersonic missile flies at a much higher speed (Mach 5 or higher) than the intercontinental ballistic missile. In both missiles, this height is called the “flight environment.”
After the missiles pass through the “middle of the flight,” the last stage of their flight occurs, called the “terminal.” This moment is when the missile has left its flight’s height and directs to the target.
This fact is the weak point of hypersonic missiles. It turns out that due to the lower flight altitude of the hypersonic missile compared to that of the intercontinental ballistic missile, the speed of the hypersonic missile with which it is aimed at the target is less than the rate that the intercontinental ballistic missile develops.
I.e., in the “terminal” stage of the flight, the hypersonic missile no longer maneuvers between the air defense systems and “falls” to the target at a lower speed, allowing it to be intercepted and destroyed accordingly.
The thin line between panic and reason
Last year (March 2020 – ed.), A US general testified before the Senate Armaments Committee. This general was Mark Milley. His testimony was more of a panic than a sensible military response. “There’s no defense against hypersonic,” Milley said. “You’re not going to defend against it. Those things are going so fast you’re not going to get it.”
Under President Donald Trump, such extreme statements were joint and preferred to reason and logic. Therefore, the Kingston Reif opinion, a missile expert at the Weapons Control Association in Washington, did not find much sound.
Reif commented on the moment when a rocket leaves the “middle of the flight” and enters the last stage, “terminal.” “Terminal, narrower-area defenses designed to intercept re-entry vehicles as they are bearing down on their target would, in theory, be more feasible, since at that stage a glider would be traveling slower than a ballistic [re-entry vehicle],” Reif explained.
Does the United States have interceptors?
The Pentagon has an SM-3 interceptor. This interceptor is a standard American anti-aircraft missile interceptor. For example, the SM-3 can destroy mid-range intercontinental ballistic missiles in its “mid-flight” capabilities, such as those in Iran.
Experts say the SM-3’s idea of dealing with serious intercontinental ballistic missiles (such as Russia’s Sarmat) is absurd, meaning the chances of dealing with a hypersonic missile are near zero. Some American generals even describe such cases very well, saying, “bullet to stop a bullet.”
But the Pentagon has ignored General Mark Milley’s “panicked” remarks because investment in the development of interceptor missiles for the final phase of hypersonic missiles began last year. The U.S. gave $ 400 million in 2020, and an additional $ 200 million expects to invest this year.
Let’s not forget that this year the United States will start work on the deployment of low-orbit satellites, which will also play a role in the launch of hypersonic missiles.
The Russian advantage of hypersonic missiles will last only three or four years. Two have already passed, and the United States is in the finals to find a solution for them.
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