Our MDAA Board Member RADM (ret.) Mark Montgomery recently released an article in Defense News as listed below on our Nation’s urgent need for US Hypersonic missile defense development. Mark is one of the stellar participants at MDAA’s Hypersonic Missile Defense Forum this Friday, February 2nd in Colorado Springs, CO. We are honored to host and lead this discussion on a critical mission for our nation and national security.
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The following includes an excerpt from the article “The US is failing to quickly field hypersonic missile defense”:
The Pentagon warned in its annual report to Congress last year that China already possesses “the world’s leading hypersonic arsenal” and is sprinting to field even more advanced offensive capabilities. These weapons would give Beijing a capability to conduct a prompt strike that paralyzes America’s command-and-control and missile-defense capabilities.
The good news is that the United States is making progress on its own offensive hypersonic weapons. The bad news is that American efforts to develop systems that can defend against Chinese hypersonic capabilities are not keeping pace. If Washington does not act quickly to expedite the Pentagon’s fielding of hypersonic missile defense capabilities, deterrence may fail in the Pacific.
A hypersonic weapon is a missile that travels at speeds above Mach 5, or greater than 1 mile per second. There are many existing ballistic missile systems that travel at hypersonic speeds, but Chinese hypersonic missiles present an additional challenge. In addition to their high speeds, these systems include hypersonic glide vehicles, which maneuver through the atmosphere after an initial ballistic launch phase. To make matters worse, Beijing is also developing hypersonic cruise missiles that use air-breathing engines such as scramjets to reach high speeds and maneuver.
That combination of speed and maneuverability presents a daunting challenge for existing U.S. ballistic and cruise missile defense radars and interceptors, making it difficult to track and destroy the adversary’s incoming glide vehicle or cruise missile. The fact that hypersonic glide vehicles can also operate at unusual altitudes — well above cruise missiles but below ballistic missiles — adds an additional layer of complexity.
Click here to read the rest of the article
Retired U.S. Navy Rear Adm. Mark Montgomery is a senior fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies think tank. He previously served as policy director of the Senate Armed Services Committee under Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., and as director of operations (J3) at U.S. Pacific Command.
Bradley Bowman is the senior director of the Center on Military and Political Power at FDD. He previously served as a national security adviser to members of the Senate Armed Services and Foreign Relations committees, and was an officer in the U.S. Army.