A new report from the Government Accountability Office (GAO) warned that the current ballistic missile defense system in the US is powerless against hypersonic missiles from China and Russia.
The missile's speed, altitude, and maneuverability could defeat all networked sensors (including space-based) and ground- and sea-based radars; ground- and sea-based interceptor missiles; and render the Pentagon's command, control, battle management ineffective in a hypersonic missile attack.
“China and Russia are pursuing hypersonic weapons because their speed, altitude and maneuverability may defeat most missile defense systems, and they may be used to improve long-range conventional and nuclear strike capabilities,” the report said.
The report admits: "There are no existing countermeasures."
The race for hypersonic weapons has resulted in the US Air Force awarding Lockheed Marin several contracts this year to develop “hypersonic conventional strike weapons" (HCSW).
The first deal was signed in April, worth more than $928 million.
Four months later, the Air Force awarded Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control a contract to develop an Air-Launched Rapid Response Weapon (ARRW), which came with a price tag of $480 million to design a second hypersonic prototype.
“The ARRW and HCSW efforts are developing unique capabilities for the warfighter and each has different technical approaches,” explained the Air Force, in a statement. “The ARRW effort is ‘pushing the art-of-the-possible’ by leveraging the technical base established by the Air Force/DARPA partnership. The HCSW effort is using mature technologies that have not been integrated for an air-launched delivery system.”
The report reads: "China and Russia are developing anti-satellite weapons to threaten U.S. space operations."
"China is developing capabilities to conduct large-scale anti-satellite strikes using novel physical, cyber, and electronic warfare means," which adds new credibility to President Trump's proposed "space force."
In March, Russian President Vladimir Putin successfully tested a nuclear-capable hypersonic missile.
The Kinzhal (Dagger) hypersonic missile flies at Mach 10, has a range of more than 1,200 miles and can carry a nuclear or a conventional warhead. Russia has said the hypersonic missile is capable of striking land-based targets and navy ships.
A video was recently posted online by the Russian Defense Ministry showed a MiG-31 fighter jet launching a Kinzhal missile during a training exercise. The ministry said the hypersonic missile carried a convention warhead hitting a target at an undisclosed weapons testing range in southern Russia.
In October, we reported on dramatic footage that captured a hypersonic nuclear aircraft streaking across China.
So let's work out if 1) this is real. 2) If it's actually from "tonight" (which works per the timezones if this has just been uploaded soon after filming it) 3) The trajectory options for the (failing) Soyuz FG.....— Chris B - NSF (@NASASpaceflight) October 11, 2018
...Because this is wild if it's the death throws of the rocket. https://t.co/PkOqcaHXR8
Fox News said in response to the GAO, the Department of Defense described the report as "an accurate although sobering macro picture of how the US stands in the world against emerging threats."