Jun 14, 2016

Russian Hypersonic Glider Weapons Would Easily Penetrate U.S. Defenses, Says Expert

Posted by in categories: military, policy

The world is in the midst of a new arms race, one designed to deliver hypersonic glider weapons — both conventional and nuclear — to one’s adversaries at lightning speed. The U.S. is leading the race at this point, but Russia and China are going to great lengths to make sure that they develop their own boost-glide technology.

Today, the U.S., Russia and China are developing a new class of hypersonic ballistic glider weapons, which within a decade, may render most of the world’s nuclear arsenals vulnerable to lightning-fast penetration and attack.

Although boost-glide [or hyperglide vehicles (HGVs)] weapons would be launched by ballistic missiles and reach hypersonic speeds of at least Mach 5 or more, they would remain maneuverable and largely untrackable after the initial boost phase of their flight. And unlike an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM), an HGV’s aerodynamics enables it to generate enough “lift” to potentially glide over distances approaching ten thousand kilometers. All before hitting their targets with accuracies down to a few meters.

“In theory, gliders can either “skip” along the atmosphere like a stone skimming the surface of a pond, or they can glide on a smooth “equilibrium” trajectory,” James Acton, co-director of the nuclear policy program at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace in Washington, D.C., told me. But the latter smooth trajectory is technically less challenging. Thus, Acton says it appears that’s the one that all three countries are currently developing.

Read more

Comments are closed.