US fast-tracking hypersonic weapons and will deploy space-based defenses

September 6, 2018

Next Big Future:

Hypersonic weapons are weapons and vehicles that can move faster than 5 times the speed of sound. Russia and China have both deployed new rockets that are tipped with hypersonic warheads. The US has had hypersonic weapons development for decades but is now speeding offensive and defensive systems.

Michael Griffin, the undersecretary of defense said a rough estimate for deploying space-based interceptors can be calculated on the $20,000 per kilogram is costs to send material into low earth orbit. Griffin talked about a force of 1,000 space-based interceptors each weighing 1,000 kilograms would cost $20 billion.

In 2017, the congressional defense authorization bill directed the Pentagon to draw up proposals for space-based missile defenses.

John Rood, undersecretary of defense for policy, said his office is working on plans for missile defences in space, including both sensors and interceptors. Space-based defenses also will permit so-called “boost-phase” defense—attacking missiles before they are launched, or shortly after launch in the boost phase of flight.

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