Russia is using French missile technology to develop a new, ultra-high speed nuclear attack missile, the House Armed Services Committee disclosed this week.
According to the document, which is labeled “unclassified,” the graphic reveals how the French defense company MBDA Missile Systems and ONERA, the French national aerospace research center, are working with Raduga, a Russian missile manufacturer, and Rosoboronoexport, the Russian state arms company, to develop a hypersonic missile capable of reaching speeds of Mach 4 to Mach 8, or 3,069 miles per hour to 6,138 miles per hour.
Rogers said the hypersonic vehicle appears to be “a new nuclear weapon delivery system,” and questioned retired Air Force Gen. C. Robert Kehler, a former commander of the U.S. Strategic Command, about the weapon.
“In general terms, I would be concerned about technology transfer to any potential adversary,” Kehler said. “Whether Russia is an enemy is open for some conversation but I would be very concerned about technology transfer to any of the potential adversaries.”
The chart describes the flight test sequence of a Russian jet-powered hypersonic missile launched from a Tu-22 bomber and initially powered by a first stage derived from an “A84” missile.
After accelerating, the jet-powered missile flies for between 20 and 30 seconds at Mach 4 to Mach 8 over a distance of up to 25 miles before crashing. The missile send telemetry signals to an airborne receiver during the flight.
Thomas K. Scheber, a former Pentagon nuclear weapons policymaker and former Los Alamos National Laboratory official, said China, Russia, Pakistan, and India are developing advanced strike weapons.
“Numerous reports on Russian strategic force developments cite the potential value of deploying conventional warheads on ballistic missiles,” Scheber said, noting plans for conventional warheads on ballistic missiles.
“In November 2014 a Russian defense industry executive announced that Russia would have an air-launched hypersonic missile by 2020,” he added.
On China, Scheber noted that China conducted six test of a hypersonic glide vehicle designed to be launched from a long-range missile.
“The vehicle, dubbed DF-ZF in press reports, is described as capable of maneuvering to avoid defenses and gliding to its target at speeds up to ten times the speed of sound, i.e., hypersonic,” he said, noting that the “DF-ZF could carry either a nuclear warhead or perform non-nuclear strike missions.”
Russia Claiming Anti-hypersonic missile defense will be deployed by 2019
Russia’s air defenses will have the ability to effectively repel hypersonic attacks by 2020, according to the Russian Ground Forces’ Air Defense Force chief Alexander Leonov.
Russia’s next generation air defense systems are set to enter service before the end of 2019.