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

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.

A multi-billion collar deployment of thousands of space-based intercept would likely be contracts that would be won by SpaceX. SpaceX is the lowest cost launcher to space and has the highest volume of launches.

Greaves, the Missile Defense Agency director, said rapidly preparing to counter advanced missile threats such as hypersonic weapons is one of three priorities for his agency.

Rapid prototyping to accelerate hypersonic weapon development

The US Air Force hypersonic weapons development team will soon release details of a hypersonic weapons acceleration plan.

There will be an aggressive new Air Force hypersonic weapons prototyping and demonstration program so that hypersonic missiles, drones and planes can be developed in years instead of decades.

Part of the acceleration is to not wait for “100-percent” solutions but proceed with highly impactful “90-percent” solution. They will have fast-tracked procurement efforts of faster software enhancements, innovations and promising combat technologies likely to have a substantial near-term impact.

36 thoughts on “US fast-tracking hypersonic weapons and will deploy space-based defenses”

  1. I don’t need to flip your burger. Plenty of kids with worthless college degrees can do that for you…and soon, robots will be doing it. ‘ saying people are worthless makes you into a right fool.’ Since when is stating a fact make one a right fool?

    Reply
  2. I don’t need to flip your burger. Plenty of kids with worthless college degrees can do that for you…and soon robots will be doing it.’ saying people are worthless makes you into a right fool.’Since when is stating a fact make one a right fool?

    Reply
  3. Yeap thanks Warrentheape, can you flip my burger now. I agree that you can teach yourself anything, but saying people are worthless makes you into a right fool.

    Reply
  4. Yeap thanks Warrentheape can you flip my burger now. I agree that you can teach yourself anything but saying people are worthless makes you into a right fool.

    Reply
  5. I don’t need to flip your burger. Plenty of kids with worthless college degrees can do that for you…and soon, robots will be doing it.

    ‘ saying people are worthless makes you into a right fool.’

    Since when is stating a fact make one a right fool?

    Reply
  6. The INF treaty is rather toothless, anyway. Russia has been violating it for years. You just have to pretend that a missile’s range is less than 500mi or more than 5000, then it doesn’t violate the treaty. But suppose you just say it’s 500mi when it’s really 750 or 800, because there’s a 1.25MEOC factor of safety on the propellant margin, so whoops, it’s actually 625. Or your 5250mi range ICBM is actually 4500, woops, now it’s an IRBM. It’s not like anybody’s checking the classified specs of governments that don’t tell anyone what they’re developing or fielding.

    Reply
  7. The INF treaty is rather toothless anyway. Russia has been violating it for years. You just have to pretend that a missile’s range is less than 500mi or more than 5000 then it doesn’t violate the treaty. But suppose you just say it’s 500mi when it’s really 750 or 800 because there’s a 1.25MEOC factor of safety on the propellant margin so whoops it’s actually 625. Or your 5250mi range ICBM is actually 4500 woops now it’s an IRBM. It’s not like anybody’s checking the classified specs of governments that don’t tell anyone what they’re developing or fielding.

    Reply
  8. I concur. Nevertheless modern wars are waged by proxy rather than among equivalent M.A.D. powers. These hypersonic missiles will be hitting some warlord or annoying general on the other side of a conflict in some third world country, rather than American, Russian or Chinese facilities.

    Reply
  9. I concur.Nevertheless modern wars are waged by proxy rather than among equivalent M.A.D. powers. These hypersonic missiles will be hitting some warlord or annoying general on the other side of a conflict in some third world country rather than American Russian or Chinese facilities.

    Reply
  10. LOL, the UFO series theme is so groovy 70s it hurts. If we are collecting sci/fi military tropes. I vote for the U.F.O. series Moon base uniforms for the space cadet ladies: silver tops, miniskirts, purple wigs and heavy makeup. Because the future. The lads can go with something like Verhoeven’s Starship Troopers uniforms. And the unisex showers, for morale improvement.

    Reply
  11. LOL the UFO series theme is so groovy 70s it hurts. If we are collecting sci/fi military tropes. I vote for the U.F.O. series Moon base uniforms for the space cadet ladies: silver tops miniskirts purple wigs and heavy makeup.Because the future.The lads can go with something like Verhoeven’s Starship Troopers uniforms. And the unisex showers for morale improvement.

    Reply
  12. Time for the US to withdraw from the INF treaty. We could deploy hundreds of short and intermediate range ballistic missiles in Taiwan within a year, no problem.

    Reply
  13. Time for the US to withdraw from the INF treaty. We could deploy hundreds of short and intermediate range ballistic missiles in Taiwan within a year no problem.

    Reply
  14. College degrees are worthless. 90% of jobs don’t need them. …which means that the bulk of those with the most college degrees are worthless people! We don’t need them, either.

    Reply
  15. College degrees are worthless. 90{22800fc54956079738b58e74e4dcd846757aa319aad70fcf90c97a58f3119a12} of jobs don’t need them….which means that the bulk of those with the most college degrees are worthless people! We don’t need them either.

    Reply
  16. Space Force! Say, they need a service anthem! I vote for the theme song from StarBlazers: bit.ly/2wO7egU My second runner up vote is for the theme song of Gerry Anderson’s U.F.O. binged.it/2Ni5s26

    Reply
  17. Space Force! Say they need a service anthem! I vote for the theme song from StarBlazers:bit.ly/2wO7egUMy second runner up vote is for the theme song of Gerry Anderson’s U.F.O. binged.it/2Ni5s26

    Reply
  18. Space X already conducts classified NSA and NRO launches, with more classified military launches awarded already. They are already fully authorized in classified operations. That’s as secret squirrel as launches get. The concern with China is ceding “on paper” operational superiority in the S. Pacific by pushing our missile defenses to the edge (or beyond) of their operational envelope with a hypersonic threat. We don’t want China to have missile capabilities that can outstrip our surface fleet’s defenses or our land based defenses. The doctrine that the DOD is operating on for countering hypersonic threats is not exclusively big picture “all theater” global thermonuclear war. Railguns don’t have the same capabilities as a missile because they’re exclusively sea-based (for now, and the foreseeable future) and range can’t match a missile. The range of a ship mounted railgun is somewhere in the low 100+ mile range. That’s comparable to the older SM-6, but the new SM-6 is more versatile and the extended variant is 250 miles. With the range increase of the SM-3 IIA over the SM-3 IB, the SM-6 could conceivably be increased further. And you can fire SM missiles out of Aegis Ashore batteries, from surface vessels, its even been suggested to modify Trident launch tubes on Ohio class subs for SM missiles, particularly the SM-3 IIA or IIB. So railguns are cool and all, but they don’t fulfill all the roles of a flight proven multi-role missile family.

    Reply
  19. Space X already conducts classified NSA and NRO launches with more classified military launches awarded already. They are already fully authorized in classified operations. That’s as secret squirrel as launches get. The concern with China is ceding on paper”” operational superiority in the S. Pacific by pushing our missile defenses to the edge (or beyond) of their operational envelope with a hypersonic threat. We don’t want China to have missile capabilities that can outstrip our surface fleet’s defenses or our land based defenses. The doctrine that the DOD is operating on for countering hypersonic threats is not exclusively big picture “”””all theater”””” global thermonuclear war. Railguns don’t have the same capabilities as a missile because they’re exclusively sea-based (for now”” and the foreseeable future) and range can’t match a missile. The range of a ship mounted railgun is somewhere in the low 100+ mile range. That’s comparable to the older SM-6 but the new SM-6 is more versatile and the extended variant is 250 miles. With the range increase of the SM-3 IIA over the SM-3 IB the SM-6 could conceivably be increased further. And you can fire SM missiles out of Aegis Ashore batteries from surface vessels its even been suggested to modify Trident launch tubes on Ohio class subs for SM missiles particularly the SM-3 IIA or IIB. So railguns are cool and all”” but they don’t fulfill all the roles of a flight proven multi-role missile family.”””

    Reply
  20. Oh god. a 90% solution is how we got the first generation of GMD. No. NO… Look at THAAD. THAT is a model for how to develop a BMD layer.

    Reply
  21. Oh god. a 90{22800fc54956079738b58e74e4dcd846757aa319aad70fcf90c97a58f3119a12} solution is how we got the first generation of GMD. No. NO… Look at THAAD. THAT is a model for how to develop a BMD layer.

    Reply
  22. I’m so excited first we had the missile gap and now we have the hyper sonic gap. Doctor Strangelove’s wet dream. No funds for college degrees or health care much less those MSR’s we have a new national priority.

    Reply
  23. I’m so excited first we had the missile gap and now we have the hyper sonic gap. Doctor Strangelove’s wet dream. No funds for college degrees or health care much less those MSR’s we have a new national priority.

    Reply
  24. The “problem” is that SpaceX isn’t secret-squirrel enough to be the deployer of this proposed fleet of 1,000+ LEO intercepters. Too public, too open. Frankly, once “the competition” gets their competitive shît together and comes up with a launch system that isn’t much more than 20% more expensive than SpaceX, then the secret-squirrel projects will have a champion. Meanwhile, at a theatre near you, is the Race to Hypersonics. Seems that that is the target of new funding and new research. “The Chinese AND the Russians are deploying weapons systems already! Hold your breath! We’re fallllllling behind…!!!” Thing is, that if we EVER get into a shooting war, a warhead-on-missile war with either the Chinese or the Russians, it won’t be hypersonics that wins or loses the day. It’ll be conventional ICBMs, launched close offshore from our huge fleet of giant whisper-quiet submarines. Literally, only minutes elapses from launch to incineration. Hypersonic weapons, missiles, intercepters suffer from the very same thing that makes them attractive: speed. Its REALLY hard to do course corrections at 2 or more kilometers per SECOND. The forces involved rise as a function of V²… for lateral vector changes. (Basically the same math that you can do on a napkin proving that on a circular track, centripetal (“centrifugal”) force is a function of V²/radius.) ANYWAY. I’m “unsettled” as to whether the up-and-coming near-hypersonic rail-gun shells are as, or more tactically important (given their what, ¹⁄₁₀₀th to ¹⁄₁₀₀₀₀th price?) of high tech hypersonic missiles. At least the railgun shells won’t precipitate Armageddon. As hypersonic missiles might. Which would be a bad thing. Just saying… GoatGuy

    Reply
  25. The problem”” is that SpaceX isn’t secret-squirrel enough to be the deployer of this proposed fleet of 1″”000+ LEO intercepters. Too public too open. Frankly”” once “”””the competition”””” gets their competitive shît together and comes up with a launch system that isn’t much more than 20{22800fc54956079738b58e74e4dcd846757aa319aad70fcf90c97a58f3119a12} more expensive than SpaceX”” then the secret-squirrel projects will have a champion. Meanwhile at a theatre near you”” is the Race to Hypersonics. Seems that that is the target of new funding and new research. “”””The Chinese AND the Russians are deploying weapons systems already! Hold your breath! We’re fallllllling behind…!!!””””Thing is”” that if we EVER get into a shooting war a warhead-on-missile war with either the Chinese or the Russians it won’t be hypersonics that wins or loses the day. It’ll be conventional ICBMs launched close offshore from our huge fleet of giant whisper-quiet submarines. Literally only minutes elapses from launch to incineration. Hypersonic weapons missiles intercepters suffer from the very same thing that makes them attractive: speed. Its REALLY hard to do course corrections at 2 or more kilometers per SECOND. The forces involved rise as a function of V²… for lateral vector changes. (Basically the same math that you can do on a napkin proving that on a circular track”” centripetal (“”””centrifugal””””) force is a function of V²/radius.)ANYWAY.I’m “”””unsettled”””” as to whether the up-and-coming near-hypersonic rail-gun shells are as”” or more tactically important (given their what”” ¹⁄₁₀₀th to ¹⁄₁₀₀₀₀th price?) of high tech hypersonic missiles. At least the railgun shells won’t precipitate Armageddon. As hypersonic missiles might. Which would be a bad thing.Just saying…GoatGuy”””””””

    Reply
  26. The INF treaty is rather toothless, anyway. Russia has been violating it for years. You just have to pretend that a missile’s range is less than 500mi or more than 5000, then it doesn’t violate the treaty. But suppose you just say it’s 500mi when it’s really 750 or 800, because there’s a 1.25MEOC factor of safety on the propellant margin, so whoops, it’s actually 625. Or your 5250mi range ICBM is actually 4500, woops, now it’s an IRBM. It’s not like anybody’s checking the classified specs of governments that don’t tell anyone what they’re developing or fielding.

    Reply
  27. I concur.

    Nevertheless modern wars are waged by proxy rather than among equivalent M.A.D. powers.

    These hypersonic missiles will be hitting some warlord or annoying general on the other side of a conflict in some third world country, rather than American, Russian or Chinese facilities.

    Reply
  28. LOL, the UFO series theme is so groovy 70s it hurts. If we are collecting sci/fi military tropes. I vote for the U.F.O. series Moon base uniforms for the space cadet ladies: silver tops, miniskirts, purple wigs and heavy makeup.

    Because the future.

    The lads can go with something like Verhoeven’s Starship Troopers uniforms. And the unisex showers, for morale improvement.

    Reply
  29. Space Force!

    Say, they need a service anthem!

    I vote for the theme song from StarBlazers:

    bit.ly/2wO7egU

    My second runner up vote is for the theme song of Gerry Anderson’s U.F.O.

    binged.it/2Ni5s26

    Reply
  30. Space X already conducts classified NSA and NRO launches, with more classified military launches awarded already. They are already fully authorized in classified operations. That’s as secret squirrel as launches get.

    The concern with China is ceding “on paper” operational superiority in the S. Pacific by pushing our missile defenses to the edge (or beyond) of their operational envelope with a hypersonic threat. We don’t want China to have missile capabilities that can outstrip our surface fleet’s defenses or our land based defenses. The doctrine that the DOD is operating on for countering hypersonic threats is not exclusively big picture “all theater” global thermonuclear war.

    Railguns don’t have the same capabilities as a missile because they’re exclusively sea-based (for now, and the foreseeable future) and range can’t match a missile. The range of a ship mounted railgun is somewhere in the low 100+ mile range. That’s comparable to the older SM-6, but the new SM-6 is more versatile and the extended variant is 250 miles. With the range increase of the SM-3 IIA over the SM-3 IB, the SM-6 could conceivably be increased further. And you can fire SM missiles out of Aegis Ashore batteries, from surface vessels, its even been suggested to modify Trident launch tubes on Ohio class subs for SM missiles, particularly the SM-3 IIA or IIB. So railguns are cool and all, but they don’t fulfill all the roles of a flight proven multi-role missile family.

    Reply
  31. I’m so excited first we had the missile gap and now we have the hyper sonic gap. Doctor Strangelove’s wet dream. No funds for college degrees or health care much less those MSR’s we have a new national priority.

    Reply
  32. The “problem” is that SpaceX isn’t secret-squirrel enough to be the deployer of this proposed fleet of 1,000+ LEO intercepters. Too public, too open. Frankly, once “the competition” gets their competitive shît together and comes up with a launch system that isn’t much more than 20% more expensive than SpaceX, then the secret-squirrel projects will have a champion.

    Meanwhile, at a theatre near you, is the Race to Hypersonics.

    Seems that that is the target of new funding and new research. “The Chinese AND the Russians are deploying weapons systems already! Hold your breath! We’re fallllllling behind…!!!”

    Thing is, that if we EVER get into a shooting war, a warhead-on-missile war with either the Chinese or the Russians, it won’t be hypersonics that wins or loses the day. It’ll be conventional ICBMs, launched close offshore from our huge fleet of giant whisper-quiet submarines. Literally, only minutes elapses from launch to incineration.

    Hypersonic weapons, missiles, intercepters suffer from the very same thing that makes them attractive: speed. Its REALLY hard to do course corrections at 2 or more kilometers per SECOND. The forces involved rise as a function of V²… for lateral vector changes. (Basically the same math that you can do on a napkin proving that on a circular track, centripetal (“centrifugal”) force is a function of V²/radius.)

    ANYWAY.

    I’m “unsettled” as to whether the up-and-coming near-hypersonic rail-gun shells are as, or more tactically important (given their what, ¹⁄₁₀₀th to ¹⁄₁₀₀₀₀th price?) of high tech hypersonic missiles.

    At least the railgun shells won’t precipitate Armageddon.
    As hypersonic missiles might.
    Which would be a bad thing.

    Just saying…
    GoatGuy

    Reply

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