Hypersonics: Where the Technology is and Where it is Going


We're here to talk about hypersonic technologies, and you know the really changing the world for military competition among the world's nations to create weapons so fast and maneuverable. They're very hard to shoot down to innovations that could enable rapid civilian travel from New York to Hong Kong or multi-stage access to space. These hypersonic pursuits are really pushing the boundaries. Of National Budgets and the laws of physics. Wanted to turn to Graham, I He really helped. Conceive of a grand package of stories. We have on hypersonic weapons and hypersonic technologies and I wondered if you could give us a broad overview and a snapshot of these developments. For our listeners. Yes, so the mantra of hype has always been that. Hypersonic is the future and always will be well the news as that. this is the future or getting close to the future we after decades and decades of on and off development we, we have several hypersonic weapons programs that are that are getting close to. That are either in the early stages of operation. If they're in Russia or China, or the US are getting close to operation so. So, we thought it was a good time to sort of bring our readers up to speed. Both on the on those weapons systems that are that are in those final stages of development early stages of deployment. the evolving. Field of how do we counter these weapons? Because as you say, there are very very difficult to to intercept. And also, to really make clear to people that we are just at the beginning, even after all these decades we are still just at the beginning of this journey, and there are an awful lot of technical challenges that still lie ahead for hypersonic spirit, really to to realize its potential and become more than just a a niche capability more than just you know, in essence, very limited capability, but something that is much more flexible incapable of our time, and as you say, could be used in in applications well beyond the initial military applications. So this was an attempt to sort of. Take a step back and take a look at where we got to, but where we also still have to go. Steve I wanted to turn to you next to. You really delved into our. The United States is. Hyper Sonics Offensive and defensive weapons capabilities. It seems like the US is is. In a transition phase from Technological Development to really winnowing that field down to technologies that might be producible. Can you talk about some of? The the most viable programs that are underway. The army has one. Why don't you start? Challenge where to start right I mean there's three different tracks of hypersonic. Weapons there's four different operational prototypes at least three different demonstrators. Those are just the ones we know of when we talked to contractors like Lockheed and Raytheon. They say they're also working on a couple of classified programs that we're not totally sure what what they are. Let me start in kind of picking up on where Graham was You know saying we're here, we're we're in the age of Hyper Sonics. And really that began on a specific day. It was Mayford twenty seventeen. That was when the secretary of the Air Force at the time. Lisa Diso signed the authorization. For the for the requirement of the airlines, rapid response weapon and that was A. That is a historic moment in the era of hypersonic. That was the first time military service stood up and said we are going to. Weaponize this technology. This thing that we've been working on and you know playing with experimenting with for decades we're GONNA make it a weapon now. Obviously, they were doing that because Russia and China already beat them to the punch. In in that case, but The for US hypersonic technology. It was an historic moment So you know And, that was the air force doing it the army navy weren't that far behind after completing a fleet experiment. One of the Common Hypersonic Glide Body in November of two thousand, seventeen the army and navy made the commitment to jump in to hypersonic weapons programs as well. So where we are today, so it's three years on. A. we you know we're starting to just like every other weapons development program in Hightech. You know endeavor from the Pentagon. There are some issues right? Arrow is probably about a year behind schedule. It's risk reduction effort. Darpa working on. The tactical boost glide program. It's also a year behind schedule The overall program is thirty nine thirty nine percent over budget going to the Government Accountability Office. They've had to cancel one program. The Hypersonic Conventional Strike Weapon, which was going to use the same common hypersonic right buddy that would be the army and the navy versions of the same missile. They canceled that diverted the funding to cover the offset in Arrow. And the meantime they've also launched a follow onto a scrim jet powered missile demonstrator. So, there's been a lot of different moving

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