US to Ensure Dominance in Hypersonic Race Versus China, Russia

By Charissa Echavez, | May 11, 2017

US wants to remain its technological superiority in the hypersonic race. (YouTube)

US wants to remain its technological superiority in the hypersonic race. (YouTube)

The US Air Force will ramp up its research and development of hypersonic aircraft and carriers to break even more speed barriers and maintain technological superiority, particularly against China and Russia.

"We must push the boundaries of technology in every area," Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. David L. Goldfein said. "Our adversaries aren't standing still. They are looking for every advantage they can get."

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A recent meeting of Air Force generals acknowledged that the US is not alone in its quest for increased speed. China, for instance, is planning to test a prototype combined-cycle hypersonic engine later this year. It is also poised to master the spaceplane's technologies over the next three to five years, and a full-scale spaceplane would enter service by the end of the decade.

Russia also claims that it is already on par with the US in developing hypersonic technologies. In fact, Russia Academy of Science's Siberian Branch Vasily Formin said: "The results are better than those of the US." And new samples of hypersonic and other advanced weapons are expected to enter the Russian Armed Forces by 2025 under the framework of the 2018-2025 State Armaments Program.

"We have a real sense of urgency," Dr. Greg Zacharias, the Air Force chief scientist, said.

"We're accelerating our research in this area," Lisa S. Disbrow, Acting Secretary of the Air Force, said. "The benefits of this technology for our nation's defense are wide ranging, from offensive capabilities to defensive systems. This is a high priority for the USAF."

The Air Force has also laid the groundwork for longer-term coordination effort in policy, operations concepts, science and technology efforts, acquisition, and test and evaluation.

The US has also continued to spend money on hypersonic research to develop hypersonic missiles that blast between Mach 5 and Mach 20 (25,000 km/h). And the Pentagon has increased its budget for 2017 for hypersonic research to up to 50 percent. The US Air Force plans to test a hypersonic missile by 2020.

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