News and Commentary

Trump Mentions ‘Super Duper Missiles,’ Pentagon Confirms Development Of Hypersonic Weapons
Gen. Jay Raymond (R), Chief of Space Operations, and CMSgt Roger Towberman (L), with Secretary of the Air Force Barbara Barrett present US President Donald Trump with the official flag of the United States Space Force in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, DC on May 15, 2020.
Samuel Corum-Pool/Getty Images

President Donald Trump made an odd reference during an Oval Office ceremony Friday afternoon. The ceremony took place to unveil the official flag of the U.S. Space Force (USSF), but, while speaking to reporters, Trump made an odd reference to a “super duper missile.”

Fox News’ Alex Pappas reported that Trump was highlighting the United States’ building of “incredible military equipment.”

“We have — I call it the super duper missile,” the president said, “and I heard the other night 17 times faster than what they have right now, when you take the fastest missile we have right now,” Trump said, adding, “You’ve heard Russia has five times and China’s working on five or six times, we have one 17 times and it’s just gotten the go-ahead.”

Because it was unclear to what Trump was referring with his “times” remarks, White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany directed reporters to the Pentagon. Later on Friday, Defense Department spokesman Jonathan Rath Hoffman confirmed that the department “is working on developing a range of hypersonic missiles to counter our adversaries.”

As Pappas reported, USSF is the “first new U.S. military branch in 72 years.”

The USSF was established in 2018 – at Trump’s direction – after the president called for “American dominance in space.”

“China and Russia, perhaps others, have started a lot sooner than us, we should have started this a long time ago but we’ve made up for it in spades,” Trump said Friday.

The Space Force is technically part of the Air Force, and the navy blue and white flag unveiled Friday includes a classic Air Force symbol – the Delta Wing. As the Independent reported, “Dark and light shades of grey within the delta were incorporated in a nod to the 24/7 nature of the Space Force’s work.”

“The flag also features a globe, for the Space Force fighters’ home turf, and an elliptical orbit around the globe was incorporated to signify the force’s mission to defend and protect from adversaries and threats emanating in space,” the outlet reported. “This flag was produced by artists and crafts people at the Defense Logistics Agency flag room in Philadelphia from a design finalised and documented by the Department’s Institute of Heraldry at Fort Belvoir, Virginia.”

CNBC reported in September 2019 that the U.S. has been developing hypersonic weapons for years, describing the development of such weapons as the “new arms race” between China, Russia, and the U.S.

“Currently, the Pentagon has nearly a dozen programs tasked with developing and defending against the new breed of weapons. In 2019, the Pentagon awarded two multibillion dollar hypersonic weapons contracts to Lockheed Martin,” the outlet reported. “As the world’s major powers fight to develop these new weapons, they’ll need new ways to defend against them as well. And that’s not cheap.”

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