American military leaders officially confirmed that revolutionary hypersonic missile may be equipped with a nuclear warhead.
In today’s Armed Services hearing, Senator King asked U.S. Northern Command (NORTHCOM) head Gen. Terrence O’Shaughnessy and Strategic Command head Adm. Charles Richar “Can hypersonics be nuclearized?”
Senator King was concerned that some of hypersonic research should be going into defense because right now hypersonics are really a nightmare weapon, for an aircraft carrier, for all kinds of targets. He also asked heads of Northcom and Stratcom “can hypersonics be nuclearized? Can a hypersonic missile carry a nuclear warhead?”
The answer was harrowing “Absolutely yes,” leading King to respond “So is this really triad 2.0? Because this is different – it’s not a ballistic missile it’s not a submarine it’s not aircraft or it could be, yes all three of those. Clearly we need to think about hypersonics in terms of the triad, in terms of our strategic deterrence.”
In reply, Adm. Charles Richar stated that: “Senator absolutely, I will offer that it is not our policy or intent right now to nuclearize hypersonics. Other nations can choose to do what they wish in that area and yes right this is the competition.”
“This has a lot of similarities to the introduction to the intercontinental ballistic missiles back in the late fifties and early sixties and we are ready to address it,” also added Admiral.
Hypersonic weapons move five times faster than the speed of sound and are designed to potentially deliver a precision-guided airstrike anywhere in the world within an hour.
Currently, the U.S. Army, Air Force and Navy works on a new weapon system that will be armed with hypersonic missiles that can travel well over 3,800 miles per hour. They can reach the top of the Earth’s atmosphere and remain just beyond the range of air and missile defense systems until they are ready to strike, and by then it’s too late to react. Extremely accurate, ultrafast, maneuverable and survivable, hypersonics can strike anywhere in the world within minutes. For the battery, the task force and the U.S. Army, they provide a critical strategic weapon and a powerful deterrent against adversary capabilities.