Both the US Navy and US Air Force have put the development of supersonic weaponry their list of top priorities amid concerns in the Pentagon that Russia and China have taken the lead in that sphere of technology, Military.com reported, citing US military documents. According to them, the US Navy hopes to acquire such weapons by 2025.
The US Air Force struck a second contract for the development of supersonic missiles in April 2018 and aims to have an operational weapon by 2021. The Defence Advanced Research Projects Agency and Lockheed Martin are working on a project for a so-called Hypersonic Conventional Strike Weapon.
The news comes shortly after the successful test of the Avangard hypersonic glide vehicle on 26 December. According to Russian Deputy Prime Minister Yury Borisov, the missile reached a speed of Mach 27 and successfully struck a target 6,000 kilometres away.
The missile was first presented by Russian President Vladimir Putin in March, who said that it's capable of changing course mid-flight, avoiding being tracked and thus intercepted. He noted that the missile could penetrate any existing missile defence system. Apart from Avangard, Putin also unveiled the hypersonic air-to-ground missile Kh-47M2 Kinzhal and the laser complex Peresvet.