Hypersonic Strike Systems Of United States

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Hypersonic Strike Systems Of United States

Even two years ago, hypersonic weapons were barely an item of discussion among the US national security establishment. Today these weapons are all the rage. What accounts for that sudden emergence of US interest in this category of weapons, which has spurred research and development on several different weapon systems that are to enter service at some point in the upcoming decade? And what are the implications of their eventual likely entry into service?

The triggering reason is most likely the failure of US, French, and British stand-off weapons used against Syria, specifically against targets covered by modern air defenses. Russian and even Soviet-era surface-to-air gun and missile systems racked up an impressive tally of successful interceptions of Tomahawk cruise missiles that still represent the most important component of the US stand-off weapon arsenal. Even the supposedly stealthy cruise missiles like France’s SCALP-EG, Great Britain’s Storm Shadow, and the US JASSM-ER proved to have low survivability against modern defenses. Israel’s equivalent munitions were not an exception to that rule, as they too had to rely on saturation attacks or, more likely, striking targets that were outside the integrated air defense bubble. Compounding the problem was the absence of sub-strategic ballistic missiles, with the exception of the short-ranged US Army TACMS which, while a formidable weapon, is too slow to evade interception by tactical anti-ballistic systems.

Nor were “hard kill” defenses the only weapons that proved effective against the array of NATO’s air- and sea-launched cruise missiles. Though hard data is difficult to come by, there is evidence suggesting “soft kill” electronic warfare measures were quite effective at countering a wide variety of stand-off munitions as well.

Collectively, these experiences have shaken US and NATO confidence in their chosen technological approach that emphasized stealth for every aerial vehicle in their arsenals, including manned and unmanned platforms as well as missiles. Yet even though stealthy cruise missiles such as the JASSM and its anti-ship version, the LRASM, might be successful at avoiding targeting by long-range radar-guided weapons, the fact that they are jet-powered means they are detectable by infrared imaging sensors at closer ranges. The remarkable information campaign waged by NATO countries against the Pantsir-S short-range air defense system is a reflection of its effectiveness as a missile, bomb, and drone-killer.

Whereas the US military establishment embraced stealth as a “silver bullet” technological solution to all manner of tactical and even strategic problems, Russia’s approach was more measured. While the studies that have led to this conclusion probably will remain classified for a long period of time, the Russian military came to the reasonable conclusion that since avoiding detection cannot be guaranteed, the best way to deal with missile defenses is to decrease exposure time by making the missiles ever-faster. This trend was already evident during the Cold War, when NATO settled for subsonic anti-ship missiles such as the Exocet, Harpoon, Penguin, Otomat, and ultimately the Tomahawk which had both anti-ship and land-attack applications, which relied on stealth of sorts in the form of flying at extremely low altitudes. USSR, on the other hand, already by the late 1960s was making a major investment in highly supersonic air-, surface- and submarine-launched missiles. By 1980s, Soviet weapons were increasingly employing air-breathing ramjet propulsion which pushed their speeds ever-closer to the hypersonic realm. NATO’s use of ramjet propulsion during that time was limited to surface-to-air missiles such as the British Sea Dart and US Talos, while its cruise missiles were almost exclusively jet-powered.

Russia’s evolutionary development of these technologies has led both to systems already in service, such as the Oniks and Kalibr cruise missiles (with an anti-ship variant of the latter employing a highly supersonic terminal stage). These are be soon joined by the Tsirkon, a genuinely hypersonic cruise missile, the Avangard ICBM maneuvering re-entry vehicle and the Kinzhal aeroballistic missile derived from the Iskander INF-threshold 500km range ballistic missile.

US interest in conventional hypervelocity strike weapons is not exactly new. The George W. Bush administration initiated the Prompt Global Strike program which made its first appearance in the 2001 Nuclear Posture Review, shortly before the US withdrawal from the ABM Treaty. Nevertheless, in the post-9/11 wars the US has shifted attention and budgets away from strategic weapons and towards counterinsurgency, therefore while the interest in these weapons was never abandoned, it was nowhere near the top of US defense priorities. Not even the rapid deterioration of Russia-NATO relations in 2014 and later years led to visibly greater interest in these weapons. The Trump Administration’s two rounds of cruise missile strikes against Syria, however, appear to have had that effect. As a result, every service of the US military is interested in the development of at least one weapon system that would provide with hypervelocity strike capabilities. With the exception of Avangard, every Russian system mentioned has a similar US system under some stage of development.

The Precision Strike Missile (PrSM) is quite literally the US equivalent of the Iskander, possessed of similar range and capabilities. There are two versions of the weapon being developed, one by Lockheed-Martin which conducted the first test launch in 2019, and another by Raytheon which appears to be behind schedule. While the weapon is intended to be used from the same HIMARS launchers that Army TACMS uses, the missile itself has considerably greater range of just under 500km, though it is widely assumed it is going to be extended to 700km. The original official 500km range requirement was placed when the INF Treaty was still in force, but since that treaty’s demise was already being planned by the White House, it is rather likely the two competitors were informed that actual desired range was greater than the specified one.

The Long-Range Hypersonic Weapon (LRHW) picks up where the PrSM leaves of, and moreover is one of the missile designs using the Common Hypersonic Glide Body (C-HGB) developed by Sandia National Laborary. C-HGB is an Avangard-like though smaller maneuvering hypersonic vehicle that has been tested at speeds of up to Mach 8 and ranges in excess of 6,000km as part of the Army Hypersonic Weapon program that has since been folded into this and other projects. Operational LRHW range will depend on the kinematics of the carrier. However, since the START I treaty defines an ICBM as a missile with a range exceeding 5,500km, if LRHW has performance comparable to the AHW, it would be a de-facto road-mobile ICBM. While it is planned as a delivery vehicle for conventional payloads, nothing prevents it from carrying nuclear warheads. LRHW and other long-range surface-launched hypersonic weapons may be the reason the United States has shown no interest in extending New START treaty which uses the same definitions and which is set to expire in 2021. The US Army hopes to have the first LRHW battery in service in 2023, though that date is likely to slip, if only because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Intermediate Range Conventional Prompt Global Strike (IRCPS) is the US Navy’s equivalent of the LRHW in the sense that it uses C-HGB. However, unlike the missiles mentioned earlier, it does not appear to have a custom-designed launch vehicle but will instead use repurposed Trident SLBMs, most likely the intermediate-range Trident I. One point which speaks in favor of Trident I is that its smaller size makes it compatible with the Virginia Block III attack submarines “Virginia Payload Tubes” which normally carry Tomahawk SLCM packs but which are large enough to accept a single Trident I-based IRCPS. So here too we see a deliberate blurring of the line separating strategic and non-strategic weapons. Since the C-HGB can be used as a nuclear delivery vehicle, it would transform the US Navy’s future attack submarines with suitable launch tubes into ballistic missile submarines.

Unlike LRHW and IRCPS, the Air-Launched Rapid Response Weapon (ARRW) does not use the C-HGB. That weapon was supposed to be the Hypersonic Conventional Strike Weapon (HCSW) which is still advertised on the Lockheed-Martin web site, alongside ARRW, IRCPS, and LRHW, but which was rejected in favor of ARRW, a smaller vehicle with a different, smaller glide body. The USAF chose ARRW over HCSW because the smaller size would enable B-52s and B-1s to carry larger numbers of these missiles, and even permit F-15 fighters to act as carriers.

Since all of these weapons have ranges bordering or possibly even exceeding the strategic armaments’ range threshold of 5,500km and moreover could have nuclear variants, they should properly be termed strategic weapons. With the exception of the PrSM, their capabilities go well beyond the need to launch battlefield strikes or to target key rear-area facilities. These missiles’ capabilities in some respects even exceed those of Cold War-era IRBMs like the Pershing II. Indeed, even when carrying conventional payloads, their high velocity turns them into very effective “bunker-busters” capable of threatening ICBM launch silos and underground command centers. This makes them ideal first-strike weapons, used against leadership and weapons sites, with the target country’s degraded nuclear response being restrained or limited by US anti-ballistic missile defenses which are being developed in parallel with hypersonic strike capabilities, and the still-untouched US nuclear arsenal.

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  • Tommy Jensen

    We also have hypersonics and “soft kills” electronic defenses.
    US just dont brag about it in public as the amateurish and unprofessional Russians are doing it, as we keep it secret classified under cover as professionals.

    Plus we have other secret things going on that nobody knows about and that Russia dont have: Laboratory virus’s, enhanced infected moscitos, blocking and freezing of International payments………..LOL, burning of farm crops, sanctions, blacklisting of key persons and companies, directed energy targeting, plus our space photonic pint point lasers………………………LOL.

    • RichardD

      None of it has proven effective. So what does it matter? Now the US has resorted to crashing it’s own and the global economy to inflict damage on it’s adversaries. Which demonstrates how desperate and toothless the US really is.

    • James

      The US weapons are secret. The costs are Top Secret.

      • Tommy Jensen

        US is world reserve currency. It means we all pay the costs for US military.

        • James

          It’s having to exponentially print money, which is causing it to get faster and faster to hyperinflation. That doesn’t affect the Russian common people anywhere near what it does in the US, which means the US is going to experience more and more social upheaval sooner rather than later. Just look at the BLM protests. Most of the people there are white, but how many cases of police racism can they personally relate to? Their projecting. They are angry because they are struggling, but until now they didn’t have an outlet like this.

          The end result will be the US have to priortize internal issues, which Putin is planning on. That’s why he placates the US and allows them to get closer and closer without an aggressive response.

        • cechas vodobenikov

          false –your own academics observe that the fake dollar is being divested by all Asian, European nations—your toilet paper money is predicted to lose 35% of its value in less than 3 years—Yale prof Roach (zero hedge)…your growing debt and increasing negative trade balance with all nations proves that u r a buffoon—Russia has a positive balance of trade with all nations….LOL
          u r so pathetic, unable to compete, u require tariffs, sanctions, invasions to extend your rotting empire from collapsing –inevitable in the next 5 years as Orlov, Jameson and Galtung all predict….I enjoy your pathetic insecurity, functional CIA illiteracy—expected from an idiot

      • cechas vodobenikov

        US debt=26 trillion—Russia zero debt—billions in reserves…gold platinum diamonds….US zero gold…it is “secret” like their fake weapons: they refuse to permit independent auditors to examine they fake gold.
        only an idiot like Tammy believes weapons are secret—weapons testing r routinely published in military journals and observed by Russian, French, Chinese satellites…

    • FlorianGeyer

      Can the latest US Tele-Porter from the US Space Force accommodate fat US military idiots as well, Tommy?

      Can the tele-porter transport Pompous Pompeo to another galaxy? I do hope so.

      http://i.dailymail.co.uk/i/pix/2014/10/29/1414580373504_wps_6_article_2382435_1B195B5A0.jpg

    • cechas vodobenikov

      only a CIA idiot believes this—so secret, they do not exist

    • #’~A*QXm(>NRmm]w?dU4vXZ

      Very impressive indeed. That proves 1 thing and 1 thing only: the OUTLAW, psychopath-run, blackmailing, sanctioning, belligerent, rogue AngloZionist empire-in-decline has fallen for good and is desperately trying to bully its way out of the corner while it is sinking ever deeper into the swamp.

      What would those bog rats do without you, Tommy.

    • Alberto Campos

      You keep them secret until you show they are useless toys. Remember the Tomahawks in Syria. That was a big big LOL.
      Furthermore, your third paragraph reveals the idiot you are.

  • RichardD

    How much longer can the US keep spending exorbitant amounts of money on it’s military with a national debt growing faster than it’s economy with no end to that in sight and interest at near zero percent which can’t go any lower? Who is going to keep buying this volume of US government bonds without the US printing money to buy them itself directly and through proxies?

    • Maria23

      Hi everyone, come here to meet for sex – http://gg.gg/jm6ye

      • James

        Epstein? Is that you? I mean….Ghislaine….?

    • Harry Smith

      Richard pardon me for off topic comment, but just want to thank you for sharing photos and info from CHAZ. I do really think SF could use you as reporter to present the situation in there.

  • occupybacon

    Yes, USA build them as fast as possible and move them in EU, Make Moscow strikeable in 5 mins. The launchers for the Aegis are already installed and waiting the new toys that will make Putin go to toilet and find no more Russia when he gets out.

    • Harry Smith

      ROFL. After Poland experience to allow USA launchers and buy anti air defense by their own it won’t be easy task for USA to convince anybody to place USA hypersonic missiles on their territory. https://media1.giphy.com/media/d2Z4NRCUxsxZBvag/giphy.gif

      • occupybacon

        I think most of the Eastern NATO countries will be happy to host them, why wouldn’t they? Anything happened in Poland I was not aware about?

      • cechas vodobenikov

        already many US allies have rejected US missile placement—Australia, S Korea, Japan, Turkey….Germany rejects the US admonition to increase spending on the military…amerikan strategic comprehension is non-existent……their carriers may impress 4th world islands such as Haiti—nobody else

        • Bill Wilson

          Russia and China don’t have any hypersonic weapons that actually work!

          • cechas vodobenikov

            u r stupid—even amerikan generals acknowledge that they are deadlier and more accurate than amerikan trash—which lags 20 years behind Russian hypersonic that travel at mach 15-20 and cannot bed ended by US trash–u cannot even protect against Houthis drones…”amerikans are ignorant and unteachable”. George Santayana

          • Assad must stay

            have you personally inspected each of them? i wouldnt be too sure about that

        • Harry Smith

          Do not underestimate the extraordinary servility of Polish szlachta.

    • James

      Meanwhile, Russia is pretending to look the other way. Then, just as NATO is about finished setting up……BOOM!!!……..It’s all over. Time to try again.

      • occupybacon

        Haha this just happened to the Nord Stream 2 project. For real!

        • James

          Now look at what Germany-US relations have become. If the US continues to use sanctions, they will further drive Germany into the arms of Russia. This can only be a good thing.

        • Renics Nykoros

          It has already been built.

          • occupybacon

            Yeah, just saw the inauguration ceremony yesterday, the gas is already flowing to Germany. Actually not. It’s 95% built, they let them invest billions during years and builfing false hopes, and now they anounced sanctions to any insurance company that works with a ship that builds the rest, 5%.EU doesn’t work without insurance so… It won’t be finished.

          • cechas vodobenikov

            a brain made of bacon–obviously u r durak amerikan

          • occupybacon

            Thanks for the compliment, I guess it means alien civilization in your shithole culture.

          • cechas vodobenikov

            turkstream completed; NSII to be completed in 6 months…the USA cannot prevent this—Dutch, German, Swiss enterprises are heavily invested in Nordstream…only Poland, Ukraine, Baltics oppose nordstream—all de facto US colonies

    • Renics Nykoros

      This is just a cover for replenishing the profits of the US military-industrial complex, their products are completely useless.

      • occupybacon

        Ok then stop buying them.

      • cechas vodobenikov

        perhaps not useless, but inferior—the US govt provides free money to other nations and requires them to purchase their weapons

  • dan kopfz

    Looks like the US has plunged head first into an arms race that it’s 30 years behind in.

    Arms race where the other side doesn’t need to increase spending is almost guaranteed to be lost.

    • Bill Wilson

      The US has always been 30 years ahead of everyone else!

      • #’~A*QXm(>NRmm]w?dU4vXZ

        True, in your wet dreams.

      • Renics Nykoros

        War Profiteers vs. The People of the United States. According to United States government documents, since 1998, the Office of the Inspector General has reported on $21 Trillion in unaccounted for taxpayer money. As unbelievable and absurd as that sounds, the actual total of unaccounted for taxpayer money at the Pentagon is most likely significantly more than $21 trillion. https://vk.cc/avNQja

        • cechas vodobenikov

          I read this also—likely this regards bribes paid to militaries in Bolivia, Turkey, Afghanistan to creat regime change—recounted in Perkin’s “confessions of an economic hitman”

      • Nosferatu

        except for before WW2, cold war and last 10 years. That means the only time US was ahead of Russia in military technology was 1991 – 2010.

      • cechas vodobenikov

        true if u count your #1 obesity, #1 violent crime per capita, non violent crime per capita, rape per capita (the most sexually repressed people in western civilization, #1 ugliness (“the absence of architecture in amerikan cities is a dazzling denial of culture”. Baudrilliard), greatest level of poverty of all industrialized nations, greatest wealth income disparities (Allianz 2015). and increasing, #1 in stupid, functional illiteracy (Hofstadter, OECD, Bauerlein(The dumbest generation), Jacoby, Berman: “the functional illiteracy and ignorance of amerikans has made amerikans an international joke”, #1 in self loathing, antagonism, insecurity (narcissism)—Konrath, Grijalva, Twnge, Campbell (the Narcissism Epidemic), Christopher Lasch (The culture of Narcissism)…of course you cannot innovate—you steal everything from Russia, China, Germany—this is why 80% of the engineers in Silicon Valley r born in other nations
        of course, today u r so insecure and sexually repressed u r all copulating w mobile phones
        “amerikans live in a thicket of illusions–they demand illusions about themselves: Daniel Boorstin
        your feminized insecurity amuses

      • Assad must stay

        yea maybe 30+ years ago but not now

  • cechas vodobenikov

    Russia is 20 years more advanced than USA, China 10 years ahead of US; while they spend ten times as much as Russia they produce inferior jets, helicopters, tanks, submersible missiles, hypersonic and defense systems—the patriot so incompetent it cannot intercept Houthi drones….Russian missiles in Siberia can destroy all US cities; Russian subs, missiles in Western Russia, Kalingrad can destroy all US bases in Europe, carriers, etc—according to US generals

  • cechas vodobenikov

    as the amerikans destroy their own 3rd world nation–where businesses now protect everything by boarding up their 4th world economy….these childish vandals have turned their self hatred on themselves–freedom hating puritans, so stupefied that they defeat themselves—expected in a cultural desert of under socialized racists…the USA spends more than Russia by a magnitude of 10 on it’s incompetent military and produces inferior trash —the f-35 being the most famous…why would North Korea need to defeat the US using their nuclear arsenal? civilized peoples may pity the amerikan children —the adults have all moved to civilized nations, but we celebrate this disintegration….soon US imperialism will disappear, their demoralized military huddles in their bases reading comic books; the self uglified aamerikan is so incompetent they believe that mobile phones are girlfriends….they cannot reform their shallow backward character–never has occurred in an empire near collapse…perhaps they can extend their empire by 2 years i they invite in Russian, Syrian, Serb peacekeepers—