Hypersonic Missiles: Who is leading in this new arms race?

The militaries around the world want missiles that can follow erratic paths at low altitude while flying at Hypersonic speed, without any chance at detection or interception.

In the race to develop hypersonic missiles, when the US lags behind, Russia leaps ahead with multiple hypersonic missiles which can be launched from aircraft and ships, while China has DF-17 hypersonic missile, but as usual Chinese missiles are not battle proven, even there is not a single video of DF-17 trial. Whatever To answer China’s development India test its own HSTDV (Hypersonic Technology Demonstrator Vehicle0 in 2019.

The hypersonic missile is the new popular military weapon among the world’s military powers. With Russia leading the race and posing a significant threat to the US. Thats why Japan has been constantly looking to upgrade its defense systems to counter China and Russia hypersonic missiles.

indian hypersonic missile
Indian hypersonic missile HSTDV

The Russian military considers that dominance in the airspace and outer space is necessary to successfully conduct combat operations. According to the latest information, Russia and Japan are working on two deadly hypersonic weapons called Kh-95 and HVGP respectively. Interestingly, the US Air Force last month admitted a second consecutive failure, in the flight test of a hypersonic missile called AGM-183A, part of the “Rapid Reaction Weapons (ARRW)” Program.

AGM-183A hypersonic missile
US AGM-183A hypersonic missile

Previously, Russia had successfully developed and put into combat the Avangard supersonic strategic missile. Now, Russia is continuing to develop a new type of air-launched hypersonic cruise missile called Kh-95.

Similarly, Japan is developing its first supersonic cruise missile, amid growing threats from China’s military modernization. Earlier, China announced that it had successfully tested the Hypersonic missile DF-17, a mobile medium-range ballistic missile (MRBM), designed to launch a hypersonic flying vehicle (HGV) )

General Vladimir Zarudnitsky, Director of the Defense Academy of the Russian General Staff, in the latest edition of the Russian Military Thought magazine said that Russia is developing a promising long-range hypersonic missile for arming strategic missile-carrying bombers called Kh-95 (Russian X-95)

So far, there is very little information about this project, and the information that is published, is of great interest to many people. From the available information, the project under the name Kh-95 will be able to increase the attack capabilities of the long-range air force and become one of the most important components of the strategic deterrence system.

mig-31k with Kh-47M2 Kinzhal
Mig-31k with Kh-47M2 Kinzhal Hypersonic missile

Determining the importance of “space supremacy” for combat operations, Zarudnitsky noted how Russia has developed hypersonic missile and weapon systems such as the, Kinzhal air-launched hypersonic missile system from MiG-31k and Tu-160M stratefic bomber.

Later, Russian news agencies such as RIA Novosti and TASS confirmed the existence of this missile and Novosti reported that the Kh-95 missile will be used on the Tu-23M supersonic strategic bomber, Tu-160M ​​and upcoming Russian PAK-DA bomber.

Mikhail Khodarenok, a military analyst at Gazeta.Ru, a Russian newspaper, explains that, although Russian cruise missiles can reach a range of more than 2,000 km, and can be launched from the air (ALCM), outside the enemy’s anti-aircraft fire. However, the ALCMs have an inherent disadvantage of only having subsonic flight speed, so they are easily intercepted by enemy air defenses, thus disrupting the entire combat mission.

The development of hypersonic missiles like the Kh-95, to equip Russia’s long-range strategic air force, is a very timely and important task;Hyoersonic air-launched cruise missile has a long-range, Hypersonic speed reduces the capabilities of modern air defense systems to penetrate.

In July, the Russian frigate Admiral Gorshkov successfully test-fired a Zircon hypersonic missile, destroying a surface target at a distance of more than 350 km and a flight speed of Mach 7. Also in June, it was reported that two MiG-31K fighters, capable of carrying Kinzhal hypersonic missiles, were deployed at Khmeimim airbase in Syria put the entire southern flank of NATO under the threat of this type of missile.

DF-17 hypersonic missile
China’s DF-17 hypersonic missile

Among other competitors in the race to harness hypersonic technology is Japan, which aims to thwart a militarily superior China. Some media have reported that the Japanese military is developing a Hypersonic anti-ship missile, capable of destroying Chinese aircraft carriers. Called the Hyper Velocity Gliding Projectile  or HVGP, it will be powered by a jet engine and have the same appearance as a conventional missile, but with the ability to reach a higher speed and a much longer range.

On the other hand, the HVGP will be equipped with a solid-fuel rocket engine, which will increase its warhead payload to sub-space altitude, before decoupling; then the warhead will glide towards the target at supersonic speed until it hits the target.

The development of HVGP is planned in two phases. The first phase is expected to be ready by 2026 while the second phase continues through 2028 and possibly longer, and after 2026, the HVGP has the ability to “penetrate an aircraft carrier deck.”

And Japan’s The Mainichi emphasized: “Putting missiles with a longer range to defend the Nansei Islands (also known as the Ryukyu Islands), will help Japan to respond to the aggression activities of China without deploying Maritime Self-Defense Force ships and aircraft.

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