The race to develop hypersonic weapons has become significantly prominent for the United States Space Force as they seek to combat future threats against China and Russia’s rapidly growing missile technology.

According to experts, the need to prepare for missile threats has become apparent following the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Back on March 18, barely a month since the “special military operation” commenced, the US was able to track in real-time when Russia launched its hypersonic missile toward Ukraine. It was the first known use of such a missile on the modern battlefield.

Aside from bombarding its neighbor, it was a high-key flex opportunity for Russia, sending its western adversaries a message about its military equipment capabilities. To give a quick review, Russia used its hypersonic “Kinzhal” missiles which destroyed a Ukrainian ammunition depot and some establishments in Delyatin village in western Ukraine.

And while the Pentagon still has the most advanced ground and space-based missile detection systems, if not prioritized, then it would only be a matter of time before these hectors develop something that could eventually bypass current defense.

The Era of Powerful Missile System

As Chris Stone said, “the era of missile warfare is definitely upon us,” and preparation is evident before it’s too late. In his recent policy paper from the Mitchell Institute for Aerospace, he explained that China’s DF-17 and Russia’s Avangard hypersonic boost-glide could potentially be enhanced and sneak under the radar of the US missile warning systems were mainly designed for ballistic missiles.

“These lower altitude fliers and the others that can maneuver create challenges to our ability to sense,” Stone said.

If not addressed,  the Kremlin and Beijing will have the upper hand in striking down conventional and long-range missiles with nuclear warheads attached.

The former commander of Strategic Command, Kevin Chilton, further stressed that these Great Power competitors “could cripple the operation of foreign deployed US forces and their theater bases.”