For the past year, the U.S. Army has initiated many changes to help modernize the force. Among those changes, the Army made strides to improve its hypersonic capabilities.
According to Army News Service, the U.S. Army is working to develop unique hypersonic weapons, similar to precision technology currently in development by the Air Force and Navy.
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.
The Army, specifically, is after a long-range missile that redefines long range. “We, the Army, have as our number one priority for modernization long-range precision fires; a subset of that is the hypersonic piece to it,” Chief of Staff Gen. Mark A. Milley said March 15 in testimony before the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense.
The U.S. military began pursuing hypersonic weapons in earnest under the Conventional Prompt Global Strike program in 2007. The program sought to achieve a non-nuclear strike anywhere around the globe within an hour. Now, a prompt global strike also appears useful as part of a package of options to counter anti-access and area denial measures. As concern grows about China’s efforts to close off what it considers its part of the Pacific, a weapon that could fly undetected into the denied area while the launch platform stays well outside becomes more attractive to U.S. military planners.
The Army team collaborated with a number of national laboratories on the launcher and glide vehicle design, and refined it in wind tunnels where vehicle forces were measured at hypersonic speeds.
While the Army establishes its hypersonic program office, representatives from the Army and other services will continue to work together to develop the military’s hypersonic weapons capability.
Currently, the joint team is working to create a standard “hypersonic glide body” to provide a means to deploy a hypersonic weapon.