The U.S. currently has no direct defense against hypersonic weapons and would need to rely on deterrence against any hypersonic threats. Russia and China are currently racing to develop such hypersonic weapons. At CNBC, Amanda Macias discusses how America’s current missile defense systems are built for ballistic missiles, and how the U.S. will need new systems if it wants to detect and defeat hypersonic threats. She writes:
America’s top nuclear commander described a grim scenario for U.S. forces facing off against a new breed of high-speed weapons that Russia and China are developing.
“We don’t have any defense that could deny the employment of such a weapon against us,” Air Force Gen. John Hyten, commander of U.S. Strategic Command, told the Senate Armed Services Committee on Tuesday.
“Both Russia and China are aggressively pursuing hypersonic capabilities,” Hyten added. “We’ve watched them test those capabilities.” […]
Rand senior engineer George Nacouzi added that because hypersonic weapons are maneuverable and therefore, unpredictable, they are difficult to defend against.
Looking ahead, Nacouzi said there are potential ways to address hypersonic weapons but that “they will be very expensive.”
“As an example, the Missile Defense Agency is proposing developing a space-based sensor system that would be able to track Hypersonic Glide Vehicles globally, this would be one of the first steps in defending against these new missiles.”
“Furthermore, the Department of Defense would need additional systems to defeat the missiles,” Nacouzi said.
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