Russia used a Hypersonice missile on March 18, 2022 against a Ukrainian arms depot in the western part of the country. It may sound scary, but the technology used by the Russians was not very advanced. However, the next generation of hypersonic missiles developed by Russia, China and the United States poses a major threat to global security.
In an article on the Interesting Engineering website, Line Boyd, an aeronautical engineer studying space and defense systems, including hypersonic systems, says, “These new systems pose a major challenge because of their ability to maneuver along their path. “And because their flight paths can change. While traveling, these missiles must 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 fly at a much lower altitude than “The United States and its allies have good detection coverage of this region, and the same goes for 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 operates 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 a nuclear weapon, there is a very high probability that it will consider it a first attack and respond by dropping its nuclear weapons on Russia.
The speed of these new weapons makes the situation even more dangerous because the time required for any diplomatic solution will be sharply reduced at the last minute.
The author believes that Washington and its allies should deploy their hypersonic weapons to bring other countries such as Russia and China to the negotiating table, and develop a diplomatic approach to the management of these weapons.
What does supersonic speed mean?
Describing the car as supersonic means that 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 run at just under 600 mph (966 km / h) while hypersonic systems operate at 3,500 mph (5,633 km / h) and higher.
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 hypersonic and reach a maximum speed of 15,000 miles per hour (24,140 km / h) or about 4 miles (6.4 km) per second at their top speed.
ICBMs are launched on large rockets, then fly in a predictable trajectory until they are driven out of the atmosphere into space, and then back into the atmosphere.
New generation hypersonic missiles fly very fast, but not as fast as ICBMs. They are launched on smaller rockets that keep them in the upper parts of the atmosphere.
Types of hypersonic missiles
There are 3 different types of hypersonic non-ballistic ICBMs: ballistic aircraft, gliders and cruise missiles.
A hypersonic ballistic vehicle is dropped from an airplane, accelerated by a missile to hypersonic speed, and then follows a ballistic trajectory, that is, a non-motorized trajectory.
The system that Russian forces used to attack Ukraine, called “Kinzhal”, is an air ballistic missile, with an old technology that has been around since about 1980, in which a hypersonic glider from a missile to a high height driven and then in the direction of its target, maneuvering along The Road.
An example of a hypersonic glider is the Chinese Dongfeng-17 and the Russian Avangard, the US Navy’s conventional fast attack system.
US officials have expressed concern that China’s hypersonic sliding technology is more advanced than the US system.
On the other hand, a hypersonic cruise missile is amplified by a missile until it reaches supersonic speeds and then a scramjet is used to maintain this speed.
Because they absorb air in their engines, hypersonic cruise missiles require smaller launchers than hypersonic sliding vehicles, which means they can cost less and be launched from more places.
Hypersonic cruise missiles are under development by China and the United States. Washington reportedly conducted a test flight of a hypersonic Scramjet missile in March 2020.
The difficulty of confrontation
The main reason why 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 multifaceted approach to defense against hypersonic weapons, which includes a variety of sensors in space and close cooperation with key allies. This approach is likely to be very expensive and take many years to implement.
With all these activities on hypersonic and counter-weapons, it is important to determine the threat they pose to national security.
High-speed 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 major conflict.
However, hypersonic missiles are expensive and therefore are unlikely to be mass-produced. As we have seen in recent use by Russia, hypersonic weapons are not necessarily a silver bullet that ends conflict.