An interesting discussion of hypersonic weapons

Hypersonic weapons have been under development for a couple of decades, and are still up to a decade away from deployment;  but they may complicate the defensive equation to a very great extent.  Here’s a discussion about them from the RAND Corporation that shows how they may change things.  It’s worth watching.

The USA, Russia and China are the furthest advanced in developing hypersonic weapons.  Several other first-world nations (Britain, France, Australia, and a few others) are several years behind, but working hard to catch up (because they don’t want to be left out of the new technology).  Some third-tier powers, such as South Africa, have preliminary programs looking at the field, trying to work out what they need to do to participate.  (The likely answer will be to try to steal and/or build on the research already done by major powers – that’s been the case for many years, and it works, so it’ll likely continue.  That’s how China developed much of its present military technology.)



  1. If the US military is serious about unstoppable weapons then that secret drone shuttle is researching orbital kinetic energy weapons. You don't nuke em from orbit you drop rocks (actually prepared penetrators with guidance). Who holds the high orbitals holds the world.

    1. Yep. "Rods from God," first proposed as Project Thor. A telephone pole-sized heavy-metal conical rod will impact with the energy of a micro-nuke as a lot of all that kinetic energy is converted to heat in an instant.

  2. So the US wants to stop other nations from being able to shoot down its nukes. Good luck with that.

    Besides, hypersonic travel has civilian uses and once that gets out, good luck preventing people from militarising it.

  3. Don’t forget: some ideologies *cough cough* Shia Islam for one *cough cough* see a world-wide global war as NECESSARY before the Twelfth Imam, their version of the Messiah, can return to earth from the well he’s hiding in. To them, WWIII is a feature, and necessary, not a thing to be avoided.

  4. Quentin said…
    Besides, hypersonic travel has civilian uses . . .

    Supersonic travel didn't, not long, anyway. Take a lesson here: there are no viable flying cars.

  5. Of course if the demo/comms(BIRM) hadn't spent decades stalling anything to do with anti-missile defense technology in this country, we might have functional lasers and rail-guns and who knows what else that might work for defending against this threat.

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