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This draft report offers a brief overview of the current state of hypersonic weapons development, including key technology and actors.Your Rapporteur also discusses possible implications of the development and deployment of hypersonic weapons for NATO and NATO Allies.
The Nuclear Threat Initiative protects lives, the environment and our quality of life now and for future generations. Every day, we work to prevent catastrophic attacks with weapons of mass destruction and disruption—nuclear, biological, radiological, chemical and cyber.
Hypersonic weapons – in particular, hypersonic boost-glide vehicles and hypersonic cruise missiles – are rapidly becoming a reality. China, Russia, the United States and several other countries are pursuing these weapons. Some may carry nuclear warheads.
Hypersonic missiles—specifically, hypersonic glide vehicles and hyper-sonic cruise missiles—are a new class of threat able to penetrate most missile defenses and to further compress the timelines for a response by a nation under attack. Such missiles are being developed by the United States, Russia, and China. Their proliferation beyond these three nations could result in lesser powers setting their strategic forces on hair-trigger states of readiness and more credibly being able to threaten attacks on major powers.
Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security primer on hypersonic weapons use in the Indo-Pacific region.
The United States, Russian Federation, and People's Republic of China are racing to develop and deploy hypersonic weapons capable of defeating traditional deterrents in an effort to change the nature of the current strategic balance. Both China and Russia have unveiled glide vehicles and cruise missiles with hypersonic capabilities and have implemented them into their forces already. For the Chinese, the DF-ZF is a hypersonic glide vehicle mounting the Dongfeng-17 cruise missile; the Russians utilize the Kh-47M2 Kinzhal air-launched, nuclear capable cruise missile with a claimed speed of over Mach 10. The Russian Strategic Missile Forces also employ a hypersonic glide vehicle known as the Avangard. The United States is currently testing and preparing to field an answer to its adversaries hypersonic capabilities.
Defense Advanced Research Products Agency's (DARPA) Falcon Hypersonic Test Vehicle (HTV)