US developing defenses against Russian and Chinese hypersonic weapons

Photo by Russian MoD

Pentagon plans to develop space sensors to early warning and monitoring enemy hypersonic missiles, Undersecretary of Defense for Policy John C. Rood told the Senate Armed Services Committee’s strategic forces subcommittee at a hearing on missile defense policies and programs.

“Potential adversaries are developing sophisticated ballistic and cruise missile systems, with increased speed, range, accuracy and lethality,” Rood said.

Defense of the United States is the first priority, Rood said, outlining steps taken in that direction as reflected in the fiscal year 2020 military budget request and the 2019 Missile Defense Review. They include:

  • Adding 20 ground-based interceptors in Alaska, bringing the total to 64.
  • Continued development of a redesigned kill vehicle for reliability.
  • Continuing to build a new missile field at Fort Greely, Alaska.
  • The need to field new discrimination radars in Alaska and Hawaii and extend operations for the sea-based X-band radar.
  • The need for a wide-area surveillance system to defend against cruise missile threats.

Besides improving legacy missile defense systems, Rood said, the United States will pursue breakthrough technologies to defend against emerging threats. Among the funding requests are.

Also, he added that the US developing defenses against hypersonic missiles, including near-term sensor and command and control upgrades.

Lastly, Rood said, it’s important that allies and partners invest in their own air and missile defense capabilities that are interoperable with those of the United States.

Toward that end, the U.S. is working with NATO, Spain, Turkey, Romania, Poland, Gulf partners in the Middle East, Israel, Japan and other nations to develop a range of defenses, he said.