Pentagon Official: China's Hypersonic Missiles Could Threaten US Navy's "Entire Surface Fleet"

As we have discussed previously, “hypersonic aircraft and missiles are being developed and tested by the United States, Russia, and China at an accelerating pace. While the race for hypersonic technologies has certainly flourished among global superpowers, who realize that the first to possess these technologies will not just revolutionize their civilian and military programs, but will also dictate the future path for civilizations on planet earth.”

According to the Washington Examiner, Undersecretary of Defense for Research Michael Griffin presented last week at the McAleese-Credit Suisse Defense Conference in which he warned, “when the Chinese can deploy tactical or regional hypersonic systems, they hold at risk our carrier battle groups. They hold our entire surface fleet at risk. They hold at risk our forward deployed land-based forces.”

Griffin emphasized that Beijing has administered “20 times as many of hypersonic weapons tests as has the United States over the last decade.” He stated Beijing is spending billions to develop and test non-nuclear versions of hypersonic weapons that could render the United States Navy’s nuclear-powered aircraft carriers unprotected against a hypersonic strike.

In December 2017, Reuters reported that Griffin was nominated by President Donald Trump to be Under Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering. The U.S. Senate confirmed his nomination on February 15, 2018, which means he has been on the job for less than two weeks and has already declared — developing hypersonic weapons is his “highest technical priority.”

Griffin stressed that Beijing is transforming into a global superpower and America’s worst enemy, while President Xi Jinping modernizes the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) with railguns, hypersonics, and stealth fighter jets. Detailed in the beginning paragraph, the American empire could unquestionably be dethroned if countries like Russia and China field hypersonics before Washington.

“Without our ability to defend and without at least an equal response capability on the offensive side, then what we’ve done is we have allowed a situation to exist where our deployed forces are held at risk. We cannot do the same for them,” Griffin said.

And so our only response is either to let them have their way or to go nuclear. Well, that should be an unacceptable situation for the United States,” he added.

Here is a crash course on what does it mean to fly at hypersonic speeds:

Defense News details the Pentagon’s budget for hypersonic development:

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency budget for hypersonic weapons has increased steadily over the last two years, but more funding would inevitably be welcomed by supporters of the technology. In FY17, Congress appropriated $85.5 million for hypersonics. That went up to $108.6 million in the FY18 request, a 27 percent increase. And for the recently released FY19 request, the figure shoots up to $256.7 million — a whopping 136 percent increase, but still a fairly low figure by Pentagon standards.

Griffin further stated, “the advantage of hypersonic systems is broadly speaking, irrespective of their range, that they underfly missile defense and they overfly air defense. That’s a niche we haven’t spent much time in recently, and if I had to pick my highest technical priority responding that that, both offensively and defensively, that would be my highest technical priority. If our response is either let them win or go nuclear, that’s a bad place to be. It invites bad behavior on the part of adversaries.”

When it comes to hypersonic development, Griffin has critical players deep inside the Pentagon’s swamp…

Lt. Gen. Samuel Greaves, the Director at Missile Defense Agency, said the speed at which Russia and China are “researching, developing, testing, delivering weapons systems” requires his agency to take the hypersonic threat seriously.

Also, Gen. Paul J. Selva, the 10th Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, warned on Janurary 30, “we [U.S.] have lost our technical advantage in hypersonics,” but “we haven’t lost the hypersonics fight.”

It is startling to observe how Pentagon officials are now openly admitting that foreign hypersonic threats could be a major headache to the American empire in the not too distant future. Nevertheless, the reality of a decaying American empire is starting to set in, as officials understanding the Pentagon’s hypersonic program(s) are way behind the eight ball.

The one question we ask: Could hypersonic weapons make the US Navy’s nuclear-powered aircraft carriers obsolete? 


Perhaps, the Pentagon’s maintenance of the 800 military bases around the world, and endless hybrid military conflicts has diverted much-needed resources to fund critical technologies [hypersonics] that would keep America in the running as a superpower. Falling behind in the supersonics race is a symptom of an over-extended empire… We’ve seen this before —- Rome is burning.


Déjà view ACP Sat, 03/10/2018 - 21:42 Permalink

Saves scrappage costs...aside procurement costs...Xiriously!

Decommissioning and disposal costs to inactivate a Nimitz-class nuclear carrier is estimated at $750 million to $900 million, almost one-quarter the cost of procuring a new Nimitz-class carrier. These costs are normally funded in the Navy's operations and maintenance appropriation account. The nuclear carrier inactivation cost is approximately 20 times the cost estimated for the decommissioning and disposal of conventional carriers currently in the fleet.

In reply to by ACP

bluez Fascal Rascal … Sat, 03/10/2018 - 23:01 Permalink

We USSAns have invested tens of trillions of dollars on naval vessels and military bases. The Russians and Chinese have invested ten or so billion on hot-shot rockets and hypersonic cruise missiles.

Their rockets and cruise missiles can wipe out our naval vessels and military bases in 20 minutes.

At least somebody got to send their kids to Exeter and Harvard. And the taxpayers got to foot the bills. Well, at least some of the peasants got to have low-wage "jobs".

In reply to by Fascal Rascal …

merizobeach Zero Point Sun, 03/11/2018 - 05:05 Permalink

Ok, so these hypersonic missile reports (of Russia's) have not been news since--what--2011?  Has anyone been paying attention (or managed to resist total brain-washing) since then?  This is not news--not even close.  As an aside, then, what is this?--more fucking brainwashing, Zero Hedge, because you've sold out?  Goddamn, you stoop fucking low these days.  It's a disgrace, BITCHEZ.

"Sad" --DJT, leader of half of the 'tards.

In reply to by Zero Point

fattail a Smudge by an… Sun, 03/11/2018 - 09:27 Permalink

Lets see....  Battleships became obsolete with the advent of carrier group based air power that could reach out and touch a battleship from on high with impunity.  We have a new super fast super high likely unmanned air power technology that is impervious to current defenses.  Looks like carriers are the new battleships.

Probably a blessing in disguise.  The US can close up 800 of their foreign bases and go home.

The chinese hypersonic missle may spell the end of the reserve currency, if we can't force project our foreign policy down everyone's throats with our carrier groups.

In reply to by a Smudge by an…

Stuck on Zero lloll Sun, 03/11/2018 - 10:23 Permalink

Hypersonic means huge signatures and poor ability to maneuver. Tiny "hit to kill" kinetic weapons weighing a few pounds can neutralize massive hypersonic weapons.  There's no reason to start another $100 billion dollar transfer of taxpayer money to giant aerospace/defense companies. The sanest move we could make to defend the country is to break up the defense contractors into hundreds of small competitive companies.

In reply to by lloll

JoeSoMD bluez Sun, 03/11/2018 - 09:25 Permalink


I consider this just another leap-frogging of technology, similar to how most every other country has leap-froged the US in communications... other countries didn't bother running land lines... they went straight to cellular.  They saved the massive cost of initial investment and the massive costs of recurring maintenance.

Your point is well taken about wiping out naval vessels... but at what cost to the country that does?  What's the cost of a new Ford class carrier?  Around 15 billion with air wing I think?  They carry what... around 4,000 sailors?  What would a US administration do to retaliate?  Limited nuclear strike?  My guess is that the decision to hit a high-value target would not be taken lightly.  Another guess is that US decision-makers would not put a high-value ship like a carrier at risk.  Which means that carriers are only good for power projection against low-tech adversaries and cannot get into a brawl with a "real" enemy because the risk is just too high.  Another way to think about it is... it's a wash and the victor is the entity that spent the least money to cause the draw - which I think falls to the missile rather than the ship.

And to your point about spending and paying the bill... even though big investments like carriers appear to becoming obsolete there is no way that the US shipbuilding industry, which is mostly owned and run by MIC contractors, will allow the construction to slow or stop.

It's so deeply distressing and depressing.



In reply to by bluez

Omen IV bluez Sun, 03/11/2018 - 09:51 Permalink

The best event would be the sinking of a US Aircraft Carrier -

it would be a wake up call for the extreme ineffectiveness of the entire US Military plan and objectives - world domination has murdered 10 million since WWII by the USA and spent $20 Trillion since 1950.


we need an event that is a game changer

In reply to by bluez

Boubou Kayman Sun, 03/11/2018 - 14:50 Permalink

Russia and China with less than 1/10th the military budget must nevertheless mount something like a deterrent, or become submissive vassal states like Europe, Scandinavia, Australasia, Korea, Japan , UK and a bunch of lesser underlings.

What a pity. Together they could fix the world and inspire generations to come, but no. As the big bad wolf of the globe with total domination, US must accept blame for this abysmal state of affairs.

In reply to by Kayman

caconhma SWRichmond Sat, 03/10/2018 - 23:34 Permalink

SWRichmond, I was watching your posts for the last few years because they are good in most cases. 

However, I know something about space technology business. In few words, someone who controls Space controls the Earth. It is that simple.

Unfortunately, zio-Banking Mafia has destroyed the US technology base. Just look at Lockheed. It is the best high-tech integration company but its senior management and BOD don't understand shit about science & engineering. Their R&D chief is a black guy with no idea about science & engineering.

The LMT's CEO: "Ms. Hewson earned her Bachelor of Science degree in business administration and her Master of Arts degree in economics from the University of Alabama. She also attended the Columbia Business School and Harvard Business School executive development programs." There is no science & engineering expertise. The same is for the most of LMT BOD members.

As for Chinese? ~10% of all senior scientists and engineers working on US classified programs are Chinese. My first boss was a Chinese guy and he was very good. So, please do not underestimate them. Jewish boys/girls do not work there since pay is so-so and no job security thanks to the Pentagon bureaucrats and the utterly corrupt US Congress.

In reply to by SWRichmond

GreatUncle Scipio Africanuz Sun, 03/11/2018 - 08:33 Permalink

Go on make that debt $30T within 3-4 years! ...

You have military, political and economic weapons.

With the economy running at $21T debt now throw $10T on military over the next 2-3 years and watch the economic cost of Japanisation take over. Then you have even less economic ammo.

Or does the US believe like Rome and Emporer Diocletian that fraudulent money is sustainable?


In reply to by Scipio Africanuz

SoDamnMad ACP Sun, 03/11/2018 - 03:18 Permalink

Project Pluto 1961-1964  Project of unshielded, nuclear reactor powered ramjets terminated because the sprewing radiation would be dangerous to ground personnel. With all that coal powered, electricity generation pollution and diesel fumes what's a little radiation going to add to the health risks in China.  Maybe that's why they have detected radiation in Europe from the Russian hypersonic missile testing.

In reply to by ACP

Winston Churchill SoDamnMad Sun, 03/11/2018 - 11:01 Permalink

Have you seen the photos of the Pluto,nearly as big as  an ICBM.

Putin stated that their revolutionary nuke power pack could fit on existing cruise missiles, 20" diameter.

In which case that a major advance in miniturization  and a hundredfold improvement in the current power to weight

ratios of nuke reactors.That has major implications in all sorts of fields,none good for the USA .

The fact he didn't mention those is more disturbing.

In reply to by SoDamnMad