US Defence Department press secretary Jonathan Hoffman has confirmed that the Pentagon is developing a sophisticated hypersonic missile that was earlier touted by President Donald Trump.
He tweeted on Friday that the department is in the process of developing a spate of hypersonic missiles "to counter our adversaries".
The Department of Defense is working on developing a range of hypersonic missiles to counter our adversaries. https://t.co/ATb1XLHFtl— Jonathan Rath Hoffman (@ChiefPentSpox) May 15, 2020
The statement came after Trump told reporters earlier in the day that the US is currently working on what POTUS described as a "super duper missile" which he claimed is "17 times faster than what they have right now, when you take the fastest missile we have right now".
According to him, the new missile's specifications should be superior to those of the hypersonic missiles currently developed by Russia and China.
TRUMP: “I call it the Super Duper Missile.” pic.twitter.com/BV2UfiuCRL— Benny (@bennyjohnson) May 15, 2020
POTUS spoke after the website Defence News cited US Air Force (USAF) acquisition executive Will Roper as saying during a press briefing in late April that the USAF is interested in getting information from businesses to start up a new prototyping programme pertaining to hypersonic cruise missile technology in the near future.
He referred to the ongoing international competition in the field that Roper said is prompting the US military to make sure "we don’t cede ground on scramjet technology and hypersonic cruise missiles as a whole".
The remarks followed Michael White, the Assistant Director for Hypersonics in the Office of the US Under Secretary of Defence for Research and Engineering, saying that the Pentagon is trying to catch up with Russia and China in terms of hypersonic arms development.
Earlier, the US administration requested at least $3.2 billion in funding for hypersonic weapons development programmes in the next fiscal year, an increase of almost $500 million from 2020.
Russia's Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov, for his part, underscored last month that Moscow cannot have a dialogue with Washington on new Russian hypersonic weapons without a thorough discussion of US hypersonic projects, as well as its plans to create a global anti-missile system and to deploy weapons in space.
"We cannot ignore these US military projects, since we see them as highly destabilising in terms of the strategic sphere", Ryabkov pointed out.