The introduction of hypersonic weapons into the arsenals of countries, specifically Russia and China, is a nightmare for European security, triggering a new stage in the "spiral of threats", Die Welt journalist Gerhard Hegmann stated.
He recalled a recent alert at the American military base at Ramstein, Germany, after a Russian submarine conducted an ICBM missile test. Die Welt noted that while the incident showed the US military is on constant alert, the outlet added that in the case of a hypersonic missile they might have reacted too late to intercept it.
"With the emergence of so-called hypersonic weapons the existing chains of alerting about missile launches and the anti-ballistic missile systems become useless and the time to react to a launch diminishes drastically", the news outlet wrote.
The media cited experts from the German Council on Foreign Relations as suggesting that hypersonic weapons are going to distort the balance of power between nuclear powers and thwart disarmament initiatives. They indicated that while Russia and China already hold the leading positions in terms of hypersonic weapons, the US is going to great lengths to catch up.
At the same time, German security analysts cited by Die Welt pointed out that Russia is unconcerned with US progress in the field due to the country possessing effective defences against hypersonic weapons in the form of the advanced S-500 air defence system and "unknown modified interceptor missile".
The US first started looking into hypersonic missiles and gliders back in the 2000s, but eventually abandoned projects in this field, only reviving them recently. These efforts were restarted after Russia announced a breakthrough, presenting several models of hypersonic-capable armaments travelling at speeds of 10 Mach and above. President Vladimir Putin stated while presenting the new weaponry, that their development was the country's response to the actions of the West and their disrespect for Russian interests and requests. At the same time, the Kremlin expressed readiness to put new missiles on the agenda of talks on arms control treaties, such as New START, which is set to expire in February 2021 and requires an extension.