Eying adversaries, U.S. military is spending $15 billion over 10 years on hypersonic weapons development

April 19, 2021
Air Force Air-launched Rapid Response Weapon (ARRW) will be the first U.S. hypersonic weapon to enter production, and will be operational in late 2022.

WASHINGTON – In 2017, China started showing first images of the tests of their hypersonic glide vehicles, and in 2018, Russian president Vladimir Putin presented new hypersonic armaments being developed for the Russian army. Both countries have since claimed their respective weapons having at least initial operational capability. And quite frankly, it scared the pants off Pentagon planners. Asia Times reports. Continue reading original article

The Military & Aerospace Electronics take:

19 April 2021 -- Whether America really needed hypersonic weapons, is irrelevant. Yet the thought that one hypersonic missile — without a warhead — could tear through a U.S. aircraft carrier at Mach 5 was enough to terrify American war planners in the Pentagon.

The U.S. now has 70 different hypersonic weapon programs costing $15 billion from 2015 and 2024. The effort peaked in 2020, when $2.5 billion were spent on such weapons. It also was the first year when more money was allocated to product development than technology development, signifying a switch from research to more production-oriented goals.

The largest contributor is the Pentagon, with the U.S. Navy the main participant of those programs, with $6.2 billion. The Air Force comes in second wit $3.6 billion to hypersonic weapons development. Most projects focus on hypersonic glide vehicles.

Related: Navy asks industry to develop enabling technologies for hypersonic weapons for carrier-based F/A-18E/F jet

Related: Air Force first test of ARRW hypersonic missile fails after failing to launch from A B-52 jet bomber

Related: Navy searches for companies able to integrate hypersonic weapons aboard Navy Zumwalt-class destroyers

John Keller, chief editor
Military & Aerospace Electronics

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