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Video Above: Hypersonic Weapons

By Kris Osborn - President & Editor-In-Chief, Warrior Maven

It likely surprises no one that the Missile Defense Agency’s 2023 budget proposal allocates 82-percent of its budget to research and development, indicating the Pentagon’s interest in uncovering breakthrough technologies able to help defend against a new and fast-evolving global threat equation.

Ballistic & Cruise Missile Defense

“Ballistic missiles are now more sophisticated and numerous. They are becoming more mobile, survivable, reliable, and accurate, and can achieve longer ranges. New ballistic missile systems also feature multiple and maneuverable reentry vehicles along with decoys and jamming devices,” Dee Dee Martinez, Comptroller, Missile Defense Agency, told reporters according to a Pentagon transcript.

The challenge of truly being able to “see” things faster and more completely anywhere in the globe, senior Pentagon officials describe, continues to grow more pressing as potential enemies continue to advance new technologies designed to prevent detection or intercept such as EW countermeasures to jam radar, decoys and coordinated multiple attacks.

The kinds of growing threats were envisioned and anticipated by defense planners in recent years. For example, a document called “Army Air & Missile Defense 2018 Vision” specifies some of the more difficult challenges presented by enemy weapons.

For instance, regarding ballistic missile threats, the Army Vision essay explains that advanced weapons are now engineered with “countermeasures, maneuverable re-entry vehicles, multiple independent reentry vehicles, hypersonic/supersonic glide vehicles and electronic attack.”

Martinez also warned about growing dangers posed by cruise missile attacks.

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“Cruise missiles follow unpredictable flight paths and are now capable of supersonic and hypersonic speeds. Russia and China are developing advanced cruise missiles that can be launched from aircraft, ground launchers, and ships or submarines, along with hypersonic missile capabilities,” he said.

3M22 Tsirkon hypersonic anti-ship cruise missile

3M22 Tsirkon hypersonic anti-ship cruise missile

Russia and China also pose growing threats related to ICBMs given the size and sophistication of their respective nuclear arsenals. The sheer size and pace of Chinese ICBM and nuclear warhead expansion, which includes the addition of more recently discovered ground-based missile silos, continues to cause concern at the Pentagon.

China Missile Silos

Yumen in northwestern China is among three locations where the Beijing government is constructing at least 250 new long-range missile silos. (Image: Planet Labs Inc. / Analysis: MIIS James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies)

China’s ascent as a large nuclear power is leading many thinkers and strategists, including US Strategic Command Commander Adm. Charles Richard, to explain the importance of viewing the global nuclear threat equation in terms of a “three-way” nuclear power dynamic including Russia, China and the US.

Video Above: Russia Has Precision Weapons & Could Avoid Attacking Children & Civilians

Kris Osborn is the Defense Editor for the National Interest. Osborn previously served at the Pentagon as a Highly Qualified Expert with the Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Army—Acquisition, Logistics & Technology. Osborn has also worked as an anchor and on-air military specialist at national TV networks. He has appeared as a guest military expert on Fox News, MSNBC, The Military Channel, and The History Channel. He also has a Masters Degree in Comparative Literature from Columbia University 

Kris Osborn, Warrior Maven President

Kris Osborn, Warrior Maven President, Center for Military Modernization