Under President Joe Biden, the United States Military is far behind its top adversaries — Russia and communist China — in having hypersonic missiles ready for combat use.
China tested a nuclear-capable hypersonic missile in the summer of 2021 that traveled at speeds of more than 15,000 miles an hour — at least 20 times the speed of sound.
The U.S. is now pouring billions into its defense budget and making serious efforts in reaching out to key players in the private sector to help fix the problem, The Wall Street Journal reported.
The report noted that the U.S. has invested billions in the technology since the 1950s, but the projects have been repeatedly abandoned because they were not useful at the time. The U.S. also far outpaced its adversaries in weapons capabilities for decades.
“My concern about the lack of progress on hypersonics is only increasing,” said retired Vice Chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff John Hyten. “We need to move faster in multiple directions.”
While the U.S. still has by far the most powerful military in the world, hypersonic technology in the hands of Russia and China can quickly “alter the strategic balance that has long undergirded U.S. defense policy,” the report said, because they could “challenge that superiority by evading U.S. early warning systems designed to detect attacks on North America, or striking U.S. naval assets, including aircraft carriers, as well as key bases abroad.”
The report noted that China got ahead of the U.S. in developing hypersonic weapons by using “American research on hypersonics — published openly in scientific journals — that the U.S. government funded for decades.”
The Chinese “clearly used” the U.S. taxpayer-funded research on weapons systems intended for the U.S. to advance their own military technology.
Defense officials are casting a wide net with how they are responding to the threat, including by developing what “will ultimately be more advanced” hypersonic missiles than Russia or China has and defense systems that can shoot down hypersonic missiles.