The Global Hypersonic Arms Race Has Just Started
Russian had another successful hypersonic glide weapon test. Putin says the weapon is impossible to intercept. Currently, no military power has the means to intercept the mach 5+ hypersonic weapons being deployed by Russia and China.
Claims of Abilities to Intercept ICBMs are Mostly Lies
The fact that Hypersonic missiles cannot be intercepted does not change the military balance. ICBMs have really been interceptable since they were invented. There are some interceptor missiles but they have not been used to engage ICBMs except in controlled test situations.
The Israeli Iron Dome’s effective missile defense against short-range rockets within the atmosphere has essentially no relevance to midcourse defenses against longer-range missiles.
The U.S. Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system began production in 2008. It is a short to intermediate range ballistic missile interceptor. THAAD cannot hit midcourse ICBMs, which can reach terminal phase speeds of mach 8 or greater. It can engage at a terminal phase. This means just as an ICBM is approaching a target then a THAAD interceptor can reach Mach 8 and intercept it.
An ICBM that could be intercepted cannot have counter-measures. It is trivially easy to add balloons to confuse targeting. It is also easy to add some small thrusters to make the intercept more difficult.
There are very few interceptor locations and very few anti-ICBM missiles. Russia has some around Moscow. The US has a facility in Alaska.
The ICBM interceptor a bullet moving at four times the speed of regular bullet that is trying to hit a bullet moving at four times the speed of a regular bullet.
The Hypersonic arms race has just started. China and Russia are just deploying a few hypersonic weapons as the warheads of air to air missiles and ICBMs.
US Will Spend Many Billions to Catch Up With Hypersonic Weapons
The US has researched hypersonic missiles and weapons for decades but the military and the companies did not make
Hypersonic weapons are to US weapons development priorities as locations are to real estate. Location is everything in real estate and currently hypersonic weapons are everything for weapons development. The Pentagon’s 2019 budget called for increased funding for a key hypersonics program from $201 million in 2018 to $278 million in 2019, with close to $2 billion allocated to the program.
Loren Thompson, a prominent defense analyst who works with Lockheed Martin and Boeing, said the hypersonic market should be worth “many billions of dollars” in the long run.