Pentagon Officials Acknowledge Uncertainty In Defending Against Hypersonic Missiles

John Haughey, via The Epoch Times

(emphasis ours),

In its 680 billion dollar budget request for Fiscal Year 2024, the United States Department of Defense is asking for nearly $30 billion to fund missile defense and defeat programs in all branches of military.

DARPA/Lockheed Martin Hypersonic Air Breathing Weapon Concept (HAWC) concept. (Courtesy Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency).

Currently, the DOD has a race on its hands to develop hypersonic missiles of their own and build effective defenses in order to counter the high-velocity and maneuverable missiles that are being developed by Russia, and especially by the Peoples Republic of China.

During questioning from Sen. Angus King, Chair of the Strategic Forces Subcommittee in the Senate Armed Services Committee during a budget hearing on May 9, four flag officers stated that some systems had 'capabilities against hypersonic weaponry' but they would not know for certain until these systems were tested against evolving missile systems.

King was not pleased.

I think we spend a lot of money developing hypersonic weapons than developing the capability to defend ourselves against them.

He said.

King asked Vice Adm. Jon A. Hill, Director of the Missile Defense Agency, if a carrier aircraft could be protected against an attack by hypersonic missiles.

Hill noted that the Navy's SM-6 cruise missiles can be stopped in two different places: during the boosting-gliding phase and again when the missile reenters the atmosphere. These missiles are designed to track, and then kill, fast-moving targets, which are able to fly high and skim over the surface. A destroyer protecting a carrier would defeat it.

Hill noted that Ukrainians claimed they shot down a Russian Hypersonic Weapon last week using a Patriot Anti-Air Missile provided by the U.S. He said the Patriot Systems, Terminal High Altitude Area Defense missiles THAAD, and Aegis Ballistic Defense System all had 'capability.' They have been demonstrated in tests to be able to shoot down hypersonics.


THAAD is a satellite that operates at the edge of the air.

He said.

We haven't tried it with hypersonics, but I am willing to bet that there are capabilities we can use there.


John F. Plumb, Assistant Secretary of Defense, Space Policy, said that the budget request'makes significant investments in regional missile defense capabilities', including $1.2 billion to fund PAC-3 Patriot 'interceptors', $1 billion for Aegis/THAAD interceptors and $259 millions for regional hypersonic/ballistic missile defense sensors, as well as the development of a G-class space sensor.

The U.S. Air Force is developing an operational version of Active Denial System - a directed energy weapons that is equivalent to science fiction's Heat Ray. (Unlisted USAF personnel/Public Domain/ Wikimedia Commons)

The 21st Century Missiles and 1980s Technology

King stated that these anti-missile systems were based on 1980-1990 technologies and asked the DOD why they are not testing direct energy weapons as a way to shoot down missiles.

It is expensive to use missiles as a "bullet-on-bullet approach" in order to defend against other missiles.

The development of a "directed energy" weapon for missile defence has been "a target for some time.

Hill stated that prototypes were being tested by the fleet. It is on its way. This work is done today.

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