Britain plans to work with the US and Australia to develop nuclear-capable hypersonic weapons.
A statement by Joe Biden, Boris Johnson and Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced an extension Aukus Trilateral Security Pact in the form of “Cooperation on Hypersonic and Counterhypersonic Weapons”, The guard reported.
How do you work?
Hypersonic missiles can reach five times the speed of sound, or 3,850 miles per hour. By comparison, US Tomahawk cruise missiles fly at about 850 km/h, according to military systems company PartYard Military.
Hypersonic missiles do not follow a predetermined arcuate trajectory. Instead, they can use the air to propel themselves in flight.
There are two main types of missile, the first of which are “glide vehicles,” he said The times. These are “launched into space with a rocket before gliding to their destination”.
The second variant are “cruise missiles,” the paper added, which “have engines that use the oxygen in the air and generate thrust during their flight,” allowing them “to fly at a constant speed and altitude.”
How much do they cost?
US Air Force Secretary Frank Kendall said Defense Messages that they could cost between $50m (£38.1m) and $100m (£76.3m), although there are hopes that the unit price will drop to $10m (£7.6m ) to lower.
Pentagon officials have calculated that hypersonic weapons will add $21.5 billion (£16.4 billion) to the Navy’s budget and $7 billion to the Army’s budget in the coming years. However, these estimates are “preliminary as the technology emerges,” The Guardian said.
Who else has them?
The US, China and Russia have “the most advanced capabilities,” The Times said. The US “quietly tested its own hypersonic missile last month,” added The Guardian.
Australia, France and Germany are studying the technology, as is the UK.
Why does Britain want them?
Announcing the plan, Stephen Lovegrove, the UK’s national security adviser, said referred to Russia’s invasion of Ukrainewho said it is “now more important than ever that allies work together to defend democracy, international law and freedom around the world.”
The Ukraine conflict has pushed missiles up the list of priorities for many nations. In front Russia invaded Ukraineit tested about 10 new Tsirkon hypersonic cruise missiles from a frigate and two more from a submarine.
Joe Biden said last month that Russia used its Kinzhal hypersonic missile in Ukraine, describing it as “a follow-on weapon” that was “nearly impossible to stop.”
Russia confirmed it had used them twice against targets near Mykolaiv and elsewhere in western Ukraine. Western analysts said that this was the first time hypersonic missiles had been used in combat.
https://www.theweek.co.uk/news/world-news/956348/what-are-hypersonic-missiles-why-does-uk-need-them What are hypersonic missiles and why does Britain need them?