2020-2022 Hypersonic Weapon Updates
In September 2020, India reportedly became fourth in ranking behind China, Russia and the United States of countries to research and test defense weapons. This took place after successful practice with a Hypersonic Technology Demonstrator Vehicle (HSTDV).
The HSTDV test missile that India sent out traveled six times faster than the speed of sound. Military scientists still work toward improving the stability of this artillery. However, India drafted a five-year plan to develop a hypersonic missile after their favorable deployment outcome.
Purpose of Hypersonic Missiles
The test that India conducted may make a way for launching smaller satellites that cost less to develop in the past. Note, however, that other hypersonic missiles sent out reached speeds of 10 times as fast as sound. However, six times as fast apparently is a “good start.”
The agility and swiftness of hypersonic missiles provide governments that might use them a significant advantage. For instance, these weapons could dodge just about any other defensive military weapon out there. What’s more, they seem to have demonstrated increased maneuverability during testing sessions.
Reports of Additional Countries Involved
More than the top four countries mentioned, including India, have joined the hypersonic missile initiative. Russia may have the most experience with defense weapon in general, if not with hypersonic missile testing.
The United States currently carries out the development or testing of hypersonic weapons. The country set a goal to early operational capability of one system this year, which could happen. The Pentagon proposed a $3.8 billion budget for hypersonic weapon research in 2022.
China is researching hypersonic cruise missiles and glide vehicles, according to US military officials. At least one missile capable of transporting the defense weapons currently operates.
China doesn’t seem to have as much experience as Russia though. Still, the country reportedly conducted hundreds of defense missile tests from 2016-2021 in Beijing. One of the latest launch announcements took place in October 2021.
Russia began hypersonic weapon technology research in the 1980s. Recent tests performed by this country took place within days of a March 22, 2022, report published by VOA News.
Russia inherited the reputation of becoming the first nation to deploy hypersonic weapons in combat. They reportedly aimed at least one missile toward a Ukraine target in March 2019.
The weapon that Russian officials said they fired in 2019 classifies as a Kinzhal missile they shot from a military plane. However, the country also declared possession of the Avangard hypersonic glide vehicle. Moreover, news of ship-launched cruise missile development called the Tsirkon also was released.
North Korea reportedly conducted two hypersonic missile tests so far this year in 2022 and achieved successful outcomes. One of these launches took place on January 5, and the other occurred on January 11.
Australia, France, Germany and Japan also started to pursue hypersonic weapon development. Iran, Israel and South Korea reportedly have started conducting foundational research on hypersonic weaponry.