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US hypersonic weapons trail those of competitors

16th September 2021 - 12:45 GMT | by David Walsh in Washington DC


The USAF launched its AGM-183A Air-launched Rapid Response Weapon (AARW) programme in 2018. (Lockheed Martin)

China and Russia are leading the way in terms of fielding hypersonic missiles.

The Congressional Research Service (CRS) has cautioned that Chinese and Russian recent advances in hypersonic missile technology may tempt them to challenge the US in contested regions, potentially circumscribing allies’ manoeuvre space and spheres of influence.

CRS, citing experts, noted this important because Russia’s hypersonic missiles became operational in December 2019 and China’s last year. The US, conversely, is not expected to field any until 2022-23 at the earliest.

This strategic imbalance is concentrating minds stateside and abroad. Peer competitors’ hypersonic missiles are far more dangerous and roughly seven times faster than ballistic missiles.

The weapons are also manoeuvrable in

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David Walsh


David Walsh

David Walsh is a cyber and space security writer based in Maryland, US.

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