US approves funding for hyper-sonic missile system

Bill Gertz:
Congress approved funding last week for the Pentagon’s advanced hypersonic missile program and expressed concerns over China’s recent test of an ultra high-speed strike vehicle designed to deliver nuclear warheads through U.S. missile defenses.

The House fiscal year 2015 defense authorization bill approved $70.7 million for the Army’s hypersonic missile as part of the Pentagon’s conventional prompt strike program.

The Senate, in its version of the fiscal year 2015 defense bill, also authorized $70.7 million for hypersonic weapons.

The prompt strike program is a strategic weapons program aimed at building high-speed arms capable of attacking targets any place on earth within 30 minutes.

A House report on the defense bill provided new details on U.S. hypersonic weapons programs and also stated that the Pentagon appears to be spending too little on U.S. hypersonic weapons programs in light of China’s first hypersonic missile test Jan. 9.

The Chinese hypersonic strike vehicle test, which was first reported by theWashington Free Beacon and later confirmed by the Chinese Defense Ministry, marked a major leap in Beijing’s advanced arms program. U.S. officials said the strike vehicle test involved a maneuvering weapon that traveled at up to 10 times the speed of sound.

“The committee is concerned that the People’s Republic of China and other competitor nations pose an increasing challenge to the United States’ technology edge in such emerging areas as hypersonic weapons,” the report said. “On Jan. 9, China successfully conducted the first flight test of a hypersonic glide vehicle.” It also noted that Russia is working on hypersonic weapons, but that its program is said to be less advanced.
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There is much more.

This is an important weapon system that could have implications for future transportation options too.  It is also a weapon system that challenges current missile defense technology.  If the US falls behind in its development, it would become vulnerable to surprise attacks.

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