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Hypersonic missiles: The alarming must-have in military tech

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Cheers, DPRK.

Even if you do not actually have all the technology from Russia just yet, you have managed to stoke up the stupid arms race almost single-handedly with your new claims. Grrrr.....

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Thanks a lot Putin. The CCP gave the world a pandemic, and the Kremlin gave us an arms race for faster nukes and defense systems to counter it. All the while the planet is giving humanity the shrug due to our inaction on consistantly harming our environment and habitat.

Prone to destruction?

3 ( +4 / -1 )

As they are so hard to defend against, perhaps they will persuade America to adopt a no first use policy when it comes to nuclear weapons as they will no longer be able to avoid retaliation.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

Hypersonic missiles are the missile you get when your waiting for laser technology to advance.

Once lasers mature as a weapon they can lock on and shoot at the speed of light which is many many times faster than hypersonics. When that happens all missiles become useless.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Prone to destruction? Close H.D. Symphony of destruction.

The US is banking on lasers no nukes.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Who shared the tech with NK?

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Well, either way humanity is always finding ways to destroy ourselves. M.A.D, diseases, or killing off the planet which in turn will kill us and a new species will evolve to find the toxic (to humans) atmosphere hospitable to them.

I always imagine with the news that the CCP wants to build a large starship, that the first thing they'll do is PO some alien species (the good old CCP way....) and create an intergalactic war. They'll probably toss some hypersonic missiles on the spaceship too for great irony.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

There is an expression, "Freedom isn't free."

It may be tempting to wish for simpler times, but we have to live in the world we have, not the world we remember.

As for using hypersonic missiles to deliver nuclear weapons, I do not think that is their main threat. A nuclear-armed ICBM in response to nuclear weapons delivered by hypersonic missiles, or anything else, should be enough to give serious pause to the idea of using nuclear weapons.

However, guided hypersonic missiles might be part of the arsenal if China or Russia decided to engage in a local war of aggression.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Such weapons render the "Must have Aegis early warning system" pretty much obsolete.

Abe Inc used the purchase (A$billions) of such for propaganda purposes against the wicked Nth Koreans etc.

Hypersonic missiles have been known about for ages and people with any nous knew the game had moved on.

No current advance warning system can reckon with hypersonics.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Once lasers mature as a weapon they can lock on and shoot at the speed of light which is many many times faster than hypersonics. When that happens all missiles become useless

There are three problems using lasers as you propose. Number one is dwell time. The incoming missile has to lased for a period of time for the heat to destroy it. Number two, a laser can only engage one target at a time. While it is lasing one target, remember there is dwell time, the next five or fifty missiles are streaking in towards you. Considering dwell time and the range of the laser, which can be limited by moisture in the atmosphere, is there enough time to engage every incoming missile? How many lasers do you need to handle the expected number of attacking missiles. Third, the energy required is simply immense and you can have situations where you deplete the largest capacitors and must wait while they recharge before you can use your laser again, or you must have a truly massive set of generators to support a bank of laser weapons, which creates its own logistics problems.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

A few things not well understood by laymen. Every ICBM re-entry vehicle with it's nuclear warhead inside is hypersonic. "Hypersonic" means speeds of Mach 5 and above. ICBM and many IRBM warheads come screaming in at speeds well above Mach 5. Some air defense missiles are that fast too. What is different are warheads in re-entry vehicles that can maneuver at hypersonic speeds. They are still shot into the upper atmosphere on a ballistic rocket and look just like any other IRBM on the way up and all the way to warhead separation, meaning they are still vulnerable to being intercepted by something like SM-3. The warhead is still inside an unpowered glide vehicle but because they have some ability to maneuver they do not follow the sort of predictable ballistic trajectory older counter missile air defense systems were designed to engage. That is forcing defenders to come up with new tracking and navigation algorithms and to make their missiles more agile. The changes made to RAM going from Block I to Block II are illustrative, though RAM-II is more aimed at defeating high supersonic naval cruise missiles where Blk I was tailored to defeat subsonic cruise missiles, the same idea applies. The US will have ballistic missiles with a well tested hypersonic glide vehicle both land and sea based in about two more years. The glide vehicle has been in testing for over a decade. Japan is working on one too. The Chinese have not been able to settle on a design yet so what North Korea shot is a mystery. I have been around hypersonics a little bit and the problems with control, antennas and heat management are daunting.

The Holy Grail is air breathing hypersonic scramjet powered missiles. These do not need to be launched on a rocket, in most cases they will be launched from an aircraft. That means they will fly much lower and be much harder to detect. They can achieve level flight at hypersonic speeds in the atmosphere. Something like the USAFs X-51 Waverider is illustrative of the idea, if not an actual prototype weapon.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

No current advance warning system can reckon with hypersonics.

Not true. Especially not true if you can nail the booster before warhead separation using something like SM-3 Block II or maybe something launched from the air? Israel has demonstrated an air launched variant of Stunner. It is made by Raytheon and is actually a bit smaller than AIM-120. Since it uses a kinetic kill (or "hit to kill"), there is no warhead. The space normally used by the fuse and warhead is used instead to allow a much larger solid fuel rocket motor, giving it a much higher impulse (more speed and range) than an AIM-120. Seeing as how they are made in the US I can't imagine the US isn't using something similar somewhere.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Such weapons render the "Must have Aegis early warning system" pretty much obsolete.

An Aegis equipped destroyer using SM-3 Block II has demonstrated it can hit an ICBM by successfully hitting an ICBM target over the Pacific. ICBMs are moving a whole lot faster than these HGVs are. A lot faster. This was from a ship using SPY-1D radars. SPY-6 is a vastly more capable AESA radar. So is SPY-7, the radar proposed for Japan's Aegis Ashore system.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

@KniknaknokkaerToday

Who shared the tech with NK?

The technology came from Russia, since Russia was selling all its military technology at fire sale prices during the 90s and 2000s, and Chinese, ROK, and NK agents were plundering Russian weapons technology during this time.

Of course Japan stayed out during this gold-rush time because not even a desperate Russia would sell its military technology to Russia's enemies US and Japan, so this is why Japan now lags behind ROK, China, and even NK in advanced weapons technology.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

@Desert Tortoise

so what North Korea shot is a mystery

It's a hypersonic glider with no propulsion mounted on top of a ballistic missile booster. Flew at Mach 3. NK may try to go faster with the next launch.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

It's a hypersonic glider with no propulsion mounted on top of a ballistic missile booster. Flew at Mach 3

Mach 3 is not hypersonic. Hypersonic is Mach5+. Sounds more like hype than hypersonic.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

The technology came from Russia, since Russia was selling all its military technology at fire sale prices during the 90s and 2000s, 

Nobody was doing HGVs in the 1990s or even the early 2000s. HGVs have only emerged in the past ten years. DPRK is known to obtain some tech from Ukraine and Iran as well as Russia and China.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Of course Japan stayed out during this gold-rush time because not even a desperate Russia would sell its military technology to Russia's enemies US and Japan, so this is why Japan now lags behind ROK, China, and even NK in advanced weapons technology.

Are you sure? The Russians were selling to the US. In the late 1990s the US Navy was buying a target version of the KH-31 Krypton called MA-31 as a supersonic cruise missile surrogate. I knew some people involved. Their performance was altogether unsatisfactory. Insufficient range, inability to get as low to the water as the Navy wanted and they could never hit their advertised speed except at very high altitude. The Navy already had a proven high level screamer, the AQM-37. It needed a low level screamer, but on the deck MA-31s were much too slow. Boeing proposed a number of changes to make them come closer to the minimum performance specs they were supposed to achieve but in the end the Navy, Boeing, Zvezda and the Russian government could not come to terms. Wikipedia's account is incorrect btw. MQM-8 was a much better cruise missile surrogate but the company supporting them no longer wanted the contract, forcing the Navy to try the Russian missile. In the end the Navy bought GQM-163 Coyote which works much better than either earlier target.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

We have spent untold billions of dollars, rubles, euros, etc building these weapons and for what? All they do is collect dust! I say build no more until the available stock is depleted, otherwise we will run of space to store them!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

We have spent untold billions of dollars, rubles, euros, etc building these weapons and for what? All they do is collect dust! I say build no more until the available stock is depleted, otherwise we will run of space to store them!

If the US has to defend Taiwan against an attack by China believe me when I say the various missiles will be expended at a brisk pace.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Tortoise - thanks for the obviously in the know description. Explains a lot.

My interpretation was taken from places like the "Defense Post".

This is an excerpt from them -

"...And, underscoring the attractiveness of hypersonics, the CRS report says that the US missile defense system is inadequate to detect, track and respond in time to hypersonics...."

So as always, trusting the media "experts" can be shaky.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

As humans we are very good at inventing ways to optimize destruction of each other and our planet.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

I worry that the USA is not adequately investing in education for its own people. Without sufficient education, we do not have the people to develop or man the weapons systems that we need to use. We have been relying on immigrants to fulfill critical jobs for many decades.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

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