The US Military Hypersonic Air-breathing Weapon Concept (HAWC) will have a first free-flight testing within the calendar year. They are developing critical technologies to enable an effective and affordable air-launched hypersonic cruise missile.
Lockheed Martin and Raytheon Technologies have each tested advanced air vehicle configurations that promise to achieve and sustain efficient hypersonic flight. They want to show hydrocarbon scramjet-powered propulsion and thermal management techniques to enable prolonged hypersonic cruise, in addition to affordable system designs and manufacturing approaches.
India and other countries are also developing hypersonic missiles.
In December 2019, Russia deployed a few of its Avangard missile. The Avangard is a strategic intercontinental ballistic missile system equipped with a hypersonic boost-glide vehicle and is capable of flying at over 20 times the speed of sound in the dense layers of the atmosphere. Only two Avangard-equipped UR-100NUTTH (Variants of the RS-18A ICBM missile are deployed.)
The Avangard has a total mass of about 2 tons.
SpaceX will be making hundreds of reusable SpaceX Starships. Those vehicles will be able to go mach 15 to 30 and will be able to carry 100 tons of payload. SpaceX can throttle and turn the engines on and off. This will enable SpaceX starship to be a far more capable hypersonic platform.
The Starship by itself will be able to have a range of about 8000 miles. It will be able to fly over and over again, day after day and get reloaded with missiles that would be carried to hypersonic speeds. It will be able to act like a massive hypersonic bomber.
The cost will be lower and the payload will be larger and it will fly sooner than the other US hypersonic systems.
It will totally outclass the Russian Avangard and the Chinese DF-17.
SOURCES- DARPA, Eurasian Times
Written by Brian Wang, Nextbigfuture.com