The United States is not lagging behind Russia and China’s development of hypersonic weapons since Washington has focused on the creation of non-nuclear missiles, according to an article on the US channel CNBC.
But is this credible? According to the article, the US military confessed that Moscow and Beijing made significant strides in this area of development since the two countries have been conducting successful hypersonic weapon tests more frequently lately. Admiral Harry Harris has openly stated that the US is losing its dominance compared to China in the development. The comment was made after General John E. Hyten also admitted that the US is unable to repel hypersonic missile attacks.
According to military analyst Zoe Stanley-Lockman, quoted by CNBC, the US task is “much more sophisticated” than that of Russia or China, since conventional missiles should hit small targets with great accuracy, while in the case of nuclear missiles this is not the most important.
The United States can surpass its opponents, according to the article.
Another expert in the area of nuclear technologies of the Carnegie Fund, James Acton, pointed out that the United States has long been developing such weapons, which is of great advantage to Washington.
“For example, under the most successful North American nuclear weapons program, a missile was launched at a distance of 4,000 kilometers. A similar Chinese missile would not even run 2,000 kilometers,” Acton said.
Previously, the Pentagon allocated about $928 million to create a prototype hypersonic cruise missile for the US Navy. The contract with the company Lockheed Martin foresees the development of the prototype by 2023.
During his annual address to the Federal Assembly, Russian President Vladimir Putin presented the brand-new Russian weapons. Among them was the Sarmat strategic missile system, an unlimited range cruise missile, an unmanned submersible and the Kinzhal aviation missile system, and others.
In addition, the president introduced the Avangard missile system, which is capable of flying in the dense layers of the atmosphere with intercontinental reach, exceeding 20 times the speed of sound.
Deconstructing this story, a few things are clear. The US disputes that it is meaningfully falling behind its rivals, China and Russia, not because it is up to par in the arena of hypersonic weapons. Rather, military analyst Zoe Stanley-Lockman merely reminds the audience that hypersonic weapons are merely conventional, while the US maintains a strong nuclear arsenal. This seems to dodge and confuse the issue. The US is indeed behind Russia and China in the area of conventional hypersonic weapons (which can be also armed with nuclear warheads), but since the US is ultimately, and rather cheekily at that, reminding its opponents that nuclear Armageddon is within the US’s field of acceptable responses to any hypersonic missile attack.