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Air Force Study: US Vulnerable to Hypersonic Missile Attacks From Russia, China

Image: Air Force Study: US Vulnerable to Hypersonic Missile Attacks From Russia, China

Artists impression of the Falcon HTV-2 hypersonic aircraft separating from it's Minotaur IV Lite rocket launch craft Hypersonic Aircraft. (Rex Features via AP Images)

By    |   Wednesday, 30 Nov 2016 08:47 AM

Hypersonic missiles from China and Russia pose a growing danger to the United States, which is falling behind in the technology race to develop defensive and offensive high-speed maneuvering weapons, The Washington Free Beacon reports.

The Free Beacon's senior editor Bill Gertz cites a new Air Force study showing the U.S. is vulnerable to future attacks by hypersonic missiles, which travel along the edge of the atmosphere at five times the speed of sound.

"The People's Republic of China and the Russian Federation are already flight-testing high-speed maneuvering weapons (HSMWs) that may endanger both forward deployed U.S. forces and even the continental United States itself," the Free Beacon quotes an executive summary of the report.

"These weapons appear to operate in regimes of speed and altitude, with maneuverability that could frustrate existing missile defense constructs and weapon capabilities."

According to the Free Beacon, the unclassified summary of the report, "A Threat to America's Global Vigilance, Reach and Power, High-Speed, Maneuvering Weapons," was made public in early November.

The study was produced by a special panel of experts for the Air Force Studies Board at the National Academies of Science.

As a result of new hypersonic missiles from Russia and China "the United States may be facing a threat from a new class of weapons that will effectively combine speed, maneuverability, and altitude in ways that could challenge this nation's tenets of global vigilance, reach, and power," the website quotes Mark J. Lewis, who chaired the blue ribbon panel.

"Offense and defense are two sides of the same coin; as in the days of the Cold War, the only reliable deterrent to the use of a hypersonic weapon may in fact be the threat of a corresponding hypersonic countermeasure that might hold at risk the very sites from which the adversaries' hypersonic strike would originate," Lewis wrote in a forward to the report, according to the Free Beacon

He urged the U.S. to make a major effort to develop the technology needed to counter the high-speed weapons.

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Hypersonic missiles from China and Russia pose a growing danger to the United States, which is falling behind in the technology race to develop defensive and offensive high-speed maneuvering weapons...
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