Viktor Baranets, a military observer for Komsomolskaya Pravda, shares his opinion about why the news about a “super-duper” missile that supposedly “could hit Russia from London” isn’t to be taken seriously.
Popular Mechanics, an American magazine of popular science and technology, is joyfully pounding the victory drums — the U.S. Army may get a new long-range hypersonic weapon. Popular Mechanics claims that “American hypersonic weapons will be able to strike targets on Russian soil […] as far east as Moscow.”
The article also praises “a new hypersonic weapon that’s designed to fly 17 times the speed of sound […] [and] will be able to strike targets from at least 1,725 miles away.” Furthermore, it contains some equally optimistic assumptions: “In the Pacific, a range of 1,725 miles means any number of potential allies — including South Korea, Taiwan, Japan or the Philippines.” The authors of the article point out that the LRHW system uses the boost-glide vehicle and is being adapted for launch from a ground-based platform.
Well, now let’s get serious about it. Pay attention to the phrase: “It’s likely the Army’s LRHW has a similar range to the Navy’s Conventional Prompt Strike Weapon.” That is to say, this long-range hypersonic missile doesn’t exist yet. When is this weapon going to enter service with the U.S. Army? Well, that’s still unknown. Indeed, the article’s authors admit that “The LRHW [is] scheduled for testing in 2023.” In two years, and only testing! Many years may pass between testing and approval. So, as the saying goes: “Don’t count your chickens before they hatch.”
Former U.S. President Donald Trump once blurted out that a super-duper missile can supposedly fly “17 times the speed of sound.” He was mocked for this by his own weapon experts. And, the Pentagon refused to comment at all on this “sensational fact” and advised journalists to contact the White House. But the White House did not answer their questions.
Although, for the sake of objectivity, it is worth noting that a couple of times the American hypersonic missile reached this level of speed, but then it fell apart. This is what has recently happened during a test launch of a hypersonic weapon in Hawaii. There is one very important factor here — at such a high speed, the body of a missile heats up to 4,000 degrees Fahrenheit and the control sensors on its surface burn out. American scientists and constructors are still struggling with this problem. They are very curious about how the Russians managed to solve it long ago. Isn’t that why the U.S. intelligence service has so persistently looked for contacts with Russian scientists working on hypersonic science? And while the Pentagon is only planning to test this hypersonic super-duper missile, Russia has already developed the hypersonic missile system that, according to Russian Deputy Prime Minister Yuri Borisov, flies 27 times the speed of sound.
Unlike the boastful authors of Popular Mechanics, competent U.S. military experts have already openly admitted that, in terms of hypersonic weapons, the Russians have overtaken the Americans for 10-15 years.
A couple of years ago, Trump demanded his generals “to catch up and overtake Moscow.”* So far, it hasn’t worked out that way.
*Editor’s note: Although accurately translated, the quoted remark could not be independently sourced.