A new “missile gap” is emerging, one that is based in fact. This is the disparity between the United States and its main competitors, Russia and China, in the field of hypersonic weapons systems. A hypersonic vehicle is one that moves through the atmosphere at a minimum speed of five times that of sound, or Mach 5. Hypersonic weapons systems could dramatically alter the existing balance of conventional military power forces between the United States and its major competitors. They could strike key military targets such as airfields, command and control centers, depots and force concentrations almost without warning. Existing air and missile defenses would be ineffective against hypersonic threats. The U.S. must accelerate its efforts to develop its own hypersonic weapons. I have written more on this subject for The National Interest here.
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