The United States Navy is moving forward with plans to develop a hypersonic weapon that meets the requirements set forth by the Pentagon for what has been called a “conventional prompt global strike mission.” Notably, this new missile platform is being developed for deployment on both surface vessels and aboard submarines, as the Navy seeks to meet the Pentagon’s goal of enabling the U.S. military to strike any target, anywhere in the world in under an hour.

The endeavor to offer U.S. commanders that kind of rapid response capability has become a force-wide initiative, with each branch developing and fielding hypersonic weapons with that specific aim. The United States currently finds itself well behind the likes of both the Russian and Chinese military in terms of hypersonic technologies, largely as a result of America’s focus on counter-insurgency and anti-terrorism warfare for the better part of two decades. It is currently expected that both nations will have hypersonic missiles in their arsenals for years before American platforms reach deployment, but the U.S. has already begun funneling billions into closing this capability gap sooner than projected.

“We have a program, we are funded, and we’re moving forward with that capability, which is going to be tremendous to allow our Navy to continue to have the access they need, whether it be from submarines or from surface ships,” Vice Adm. Johnny Wolfe said at the annual Naval Submarine League symposium earlier this month.

Wolfe pointed out that the Navy’s new weapon is currently so early in its development that the decision has yet to be made regarding exactly what platforms this new missile will be fired from, and as a result, the new missile’s program office within its Strategic Systems Programs (SSP) is moving forward using its most difficult and stringent requirements as a baseline: creating a hypersonic weapon that can be fired from a submerged submarine.