hypersonic


The Latest US Test Flight of a Hypersonic Weapon: the Common Hypersonic Glide Body

A common hypersonic glide body (C-HGB) launches from Pacific Missile Range Facility during a Defense Department flight experiment, Kauai, Hawaii, March 19, 2020. Oscar Sosa/Navy.

The United States Department of Defense has been actively developing hypersonic weapons—missiles that fly through the atmosphere at more than five times the speed of sound—since the early 2000s. Read More

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US Should Extend the New START Nuclear Weapons Treaty To Make Us All Safer

, co-director and senior scientist

Obama and Medvedev signing the New START treaty (Source: White House photo)

According to an AP News story, last Friday, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov discussed the fate of the 2010 New START agreement, as well as potential future agreements to limit nuclear weapons.

Lavrov reiterated Moscow’s desire to extend New START from February 2021 until 2026 and clarified that two of Russia’s new weapon systems would be covered under the treaty. This alone should be reason for the United States to extend New START. But Russia has also said it is open to negotiating a new treaty that would limit other Russian weapons systems now under development.

This is a no-brainer. It is foolhardy for the United States to throw out something good because it wants something better, leaving it with nothing.

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Fitting Hypersonic Weapons into the Nuclear Arms Control Regime

Former President Barack Obama signed the instrument of ratification of the New START Treaty in the Oval Office on Feb. 2, 2011. The only active treaty limiting the deployment of US and Russian nuclear weapons, New START does not explicitly restrict hypersonic missiles.

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The Accuracy of Hypersonic Weapons: Media Claims Miss the Mark

Hypersonics weaponry—an emerging missile technology that sends warheads gliding through the atmosphere at high speeds—has garnered a great deal of attention in the press. In a recent post I showed that claims of their “revolutionary” advantages are highly exaggerated. Hypersonic weapons travel more slowly than existing ballistic missiles, can be detected by existing satellite technologies, and do not meaningfully alter the balance between missile offense and defense.
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Setting the Record Straight on Hypersonic Weapons

Recent reports would have you believe that hypersonic weapons—an emerging class of low-altitude, high-speed missiles—are poised to revolutionize modern military strategy. A recent op-ed in the New York Times characterized these “game-changing” missiles as the “apotheosis” of airborne weaponry, capable of feats that “no missile can currently achieve.” This fantastical depiction, which underpins a race among the major military powers to develop these weapons, is part of a long pattern of media hype.

But are these weapons really so revolutionary? Will they upend the global security environment? And does their arrival make conflict between United States, Russia, and China inevitable?

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