Russia used a hypersonic missile (Hypersonice) against a Ukrainian weapons depot in the western part of the country on March 18, 2022. This may sound scary, but the technology used by the Russians was not particularly advanced. However, the next generation of hypersonic missiles being developed by Russia, China and the United States poses a major threat to global security.
In an article on the Interestingengineering website, Line Boyd, an aeronautical engineer studying space and defense systems, including hypersonic systems, says: “These new systems pose a significant challenge because of their ability to maneuver along “On their way. And because their flight paths can change. As they travel, these missiles have to be tracked throughout their journey.”
“The second important challenge stems from the fact that they operate in a different region of the atmosphere compared to other threats. The new hypersonic weapons fly much higher than the previous generation of those missiles, but they fly at a much higher altitude. “The United States and its allies have good tracking coverage of this intra-region, and so does Russia and China.”
Russia has claimed that some of its hypersonic weapons could carry a nuclear warhead. This statement alone is cause for concern whether it is true or not.
If Moscow ever uses this system against an enemy, that country will have to decide whether the weapon is conventional or nuclear.
In the case of the United States, if it is determined that the weapon was nuclear, there is a very high probability that it will consider this a first attack and respond by discharging its nuclear weapons to Russia.
The speed of these new weapons makes the situation even more dangerous, because the time required for any last-minute diplomatic solution will be significantly reduced.
The writer believes that Washington and its allies should deploy their hypersonic weapons to bring other countries like Russia and China to the negotiating table and develop a diplomatic approach to managing these weapons.
What does supersonic speed mean?
Describing the car as supersonic means it flies much faster than the speed of sound, which is 1,225 kilometers per hour at sea level and 1,067 kilometers per hour at 35,000 feet (10,668 meters) where passenger planes fly.
Passenger aircraft travel at just under 600 mph (966 km / h) while hypersonic systems operate at 3,500 mph (5,633 km / h) and above.
Ultrasound systems have been used for decades. When John Glenn returned to Earth in 1962 from the first American manned flight around the Earth, his capsule entered the atmosphere at supersonic speeds.
All ICBMs in global nuclear arsenals are hypersensitive, reaching a top speed of 15,000 miles per hour (24,140 km / h) or about 4 miles (6.4 km) per second at their maximum speed.
ICBMs are launched into large rockets, then fly in a predictable trajectory until they are expelled from the atmosphere into space, and then back into the atmosphere.
New generation hypersonic missiles fly very fast, but not as fast as ICBM. They are launched into smaller rockets that hold them in the upper atmosphere.
Types of hypersonic missiles
There are 3 different types of hypersonic non-ballistic ICBMs: ballistic aircraft, sliders and cruise missiles.
A hypersonic ballistic vehicle is launched from an aircraft, accelerated to hypersonic speed by a rocket, and then follows a ballistic trajectory, i.e. a non-motorized trajectory.
The system used by Russian forces to attack Ukraine, called “Kinzhal”, is an air ballistic missile, with an old technology that has existed since 1980, in which a hypersonic sliding device is pushed by a missile at a great height and then slides straight. its target, maneuvering along the Road.
An example of a hypersonic sliding vehicle is the Chinese Dongfeng-17 and the Russian Avangard, the conventional US Navy rapid strike system.
U.S. officials have expressed concern that China’s hypersonic slide technology is more advanced than the U.S. system.
On the other hand, a hypersonic cruise missile is propelled by a rocket until it reaches supersonic speed and then a scramjet rocket is used to maintain this speed.
Because they suck air into their engines, hypersonic floating missiles require smaller launchers than hypersonic sliding vehicles, which means they can cost less and can be launched from more locations.
Hypersonic cruise missiles are being developed by China and the United States. Washington reportedly conducted a test flight of a Scramjet hypersonic missile in March 2020.
The main reason countries develop the next generation of hypersonic weapons is how difficult it is to defend against them because of their speed, maneuverability and flight path.
The United States has begun to develop a multi-layered approach to defense against hypersonic weapons, which includes a range of space sensors and close cooperation with key allies. This approach is likely to be very expensive and will take many years to implement.
With all this activity on hypersonic weapons and counter-weapons, it is important to assess the threat they pose to national security.
High-velocity missiles with conventional and non-nuclear warheads are primarily useful against high-value targets, such as an aircraft carrier, and the ability to neutralize such a target can have a significant impact on the outcome of a great conflict.
However, hypersonic missiles are expensive and therefore unlikely to be mass-produced. As we have seen in recent use by Russia, hypersonic weapons are not necessarily a silver bullet that ends the conflict.