Without question, defense technology is shaping how wars are fought.
The DoD understands this and has initiated programs to better understand and develop new areas of defense technology in order to stay one step ahead of U.S. adversaries.
One very important new realm of defense technology being called “a game changer” involves hypersonic technology.
Hypersonic weapons fly at speeds of at least Mach 5 and are highly maneuverable and able to change course during flight. They are different from ballistic missiles, which can also travel at hypersonic speeds (of at least Mach 5) but have set trajectories and limited maneuverability.
There are two main categories of hypersonic weapons: hypersonic glide vehicles and hypersonic cruise missiles.
Hypersonic glide vehicles are launched from a rocket. The glide vehicle then separates from the rocket and “glides” at speeds of at least Mach 5 toward a target.
Hypersonic cruise missiles are powered by high-speed, air-breathing engines.
Military experts contend that the ability to launch highly maneuverable weapons at hypersonic speeds gives any country a considerable advantage, because such weapons can evade just about any defense system currently in use.
U.S. officials have said that while there are some ground-based radars that can detect hypersonic weapons, there are not enough to give adequate warning of an attack. Officials have also advocated the construction of a space-based radar system.
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