“Developing hypersonic missiles is a way to waste billions”

As part of the US Air Force and DARPA’s joint program to develop the hypersonic weapon concept, the next phase of flight tests has been completed and transitioned to the next phase, called MoHAWC.

“Until recently, the US Air Force focused its efforts on prototype hypersonic floating warhead aircraft that fly just below near space. Now the engine will also allow the rocket to fly in dense layers of the atmosphere,” the Defense News portal reported.

At the same time, DARPA announced that hypersonic weapons will be developed not only for airships, but also for sea and land.

“The US Department of Defense is at a critical juncture in hypersonic technology. A growing chorus of experts is urging the government to intensify the development of such weapons and add resources to create a range of sensors, satellites and other technologies to improve the United States’ ability to defend against hypersonic attacks from potential adversaries.

At the same time, another part of the American expert community describes hypersonic technologies as “extremely expensive”.

“The question is whether it is possible to solve the same combat missions with conventional missiles, but at a lower cost and just as effectively.

Hypersound is an effective way to break through enemy air defenses, but it’s also far from the only way. Leading US defense firms see significant profit opportunities in the hypersonic market and compete for their positions. Also, the price of hypersonic weapons samples can range from 50 to 100 million dollars per unit.

In other words, hypersonic technology will not be cheap in the near future. At the same time, its necessity and non-alternativeness has not yet been proven. The development and supply of such weapons is a way of wasting billions. “A reckless investment in this could be the biggest financial fraud in Pentagon history,” said George Willows, a military expert and researcher at Columbia University’s Center for International and Defense Studies, in an article in The National Interest.

Thus, the development of hypersonic weapons and their manufacture for US Department of Defense contractors will become a super profitable business. Given the opportunity to receive such an order, the question of its effectiveness will become secondary.

The contractors will need to convince the Pentagon that if Russia has a sea-based Zircon missile, then the United States should already have a similar missile, and there is no way to save the budget in that case.

At the same time, analysts from the US Congressional Research Service in the report “Hypersonic Weapons: Background Information” noted that at best, the US Air Force will receive such weapons in 2023, the US Army can now receive a prototype of the complex. 2025 and the Navy – only until 2027.

As for the further development of hypersonic weapons in Russia, Deputy Prime Minister Yuri Borisov recently announced that Russia is testing the latest hypersonic missiles, which are already being implemented on the Tu-22M3M long-range bombers.

“Work continues to create a new generation of land, air and sea-based hypersonic missiles. They will surpass the current and future developments of the leading states in terms of their characteristics,” he said. He did not disclose the details.

The author’s view may not coincide with the editors’ position.

Author biography:

Mikhail Mikhailovich Khodarenok is a military observer for socialbites.ca, a retired colonel.

Graduated from the Minsk Higher Engineering Anti-Aircraft Missile School (1976),
Air Defense Military Command Academy (1986).
Commander of the S-75 anti-aircraft missile battalion (1980–1983).
Deputy commander of an anti-aircraft missile regiment (1986-1988).
Senior officer of the Air Defense Forces Chief of Staff (1988-1992).
General Staff Main Operations Directorate Officer (1992-2000).
Graduate of the Military Academy of the General Staff of the Russian Armed Forces (1998).
Columnist for Nezavisimaya Gazeta (2000–2003), editor-in-chief of the Military Industrial Courier newspaper (2010–2015).

The US Department of Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) announced that the preliminary tests of hypersonic ramjet powered (scramjet) weapons have been completed. The agency also announced that hypersonic weapons will be developed not only for airships, but also for sea and land. socialbites.ca’s military observer, Mikhail Khodarenok, understood why this was necessary.

Source: Gazeta


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