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Are hypersonics the answer to the Royal Navy's lethality debate?

9th May 2022 - 13:35 GMT | by Harry Lye in London

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Future Cruise/Anti Ship Weapon concept graphic. (Image: MBDA)

Lethality was a key topic during the First Sea Lord's Sea Power Conference, with UK Armed Forces Minister James Heappey saying he wanted to see the RN lead the way in the field.

Speaking at the IISS-hosted First Sea Lord's Sea Power Conference on 5 May, MoD Deputy Chief of the Defence Staff (Financial and Military Capability) Air Mshl Richard Knighton questioned whether hypersonic weapons were the 'optimal solution' for future RN lethality.

The RN has come under criticism for the lack of perceived lethality in the surface fleet, highlighted by the future retirement of the Harpoon Block 1C missiles in 2023 with no immediate replacement.

British politicians on the UK Parliament's Defence Committee have branded RN ships 'porcupines' – well defended but lacking the ability to strike.

Knighton said during a

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