First US Hypersonic Interceptor Defense Test Scheduled for 2020

DARPA has scheduled the first test of a new advanced hypersonic glide weapon interceptor defense for 2020. Details of the hypersonic defense are classified and the contractors are still being selected. However, any hypersonic missile defense will need new satellites to spot the hypersonic weapons and likely space and ground-based interceptors.

New satellites with improved sensors that lookdown from high space orbit and look from low earth orbit are needed. Interceptors will need very different airframes with greater range and speed.

Russia’s Hypersonic Missiles

Russia has three hypersonic missiles. They have the mach 27 Avangard, mach 10-12 Kh-47M2 Kinzhal and the mach 6-9 Zircon.

The Kinzhal has a range of about 2000 kilometers and is launched from bombers.

The 3M22 Zircon hypersonic cruise missile is launched from Russian Navy battlecruisers and frigates. It has a range of about 600 miles (1000 kilometers) and has a speed of mach 6-9. The Admiral Grigorovich-class frigates can carry 8 Zircon missiles while newer frigates could carry 16.

The Avangard (aka Yu-71 and Yu-74) is a Russian hypersonic glide vehicle (HGV), that can be carried as a MIRV payload by ICBM rockets. It can deliver both nuclear and conventional payload and can reach speeds of mach 27.

The US Has Two Air Force and Two Other DARPA Hypersonic Weapon Projects

The AGM-183A Advanced Rapid Response Weapon (ARRW) is an air-launched weapon which will reach about mach 20.

The Hypersonic Conventional Strike Weapon (Hacksaw) is a solid fuel rocket with GPS guidance. It will be fired from bombers and the target is for a planned in-service date of 2022. Lockheed Martin received $928 million to work on Hacksaw in April 2018.

DARPA’s Tactical Boost Glide, a weapon with a 500 nautical mile range, is set to begin flight tests in 2019. DARPA is working on the Hypersonic Air-breathing Weapon Concept (HAWC), which uses scramjet engines to cruise at hypersonic speed.

China Has Successful Hypersonic Missile Tests

China has had successful tests of an ICBM tipped DF-17 hypersonic glide weapon and Starry-Sky 2 hypersonic missile.

A panel of national security experts have said that China is leading the world in hypersonic technology due to a clear investment strategy to upgrade its industrial base.

SOURCES- DARPA, FBO, Popular Mechanics, Wikipedia
Written By Brian Wang,