New details are now emerging about the U.S.
military’s hypersonic missiles endeavor. Long-Range Hypersonic Weapon, or LRHW – which
is a land-based concept for U.S. Army has been depicted in a Powerpoint slide at a recent
defense conference. The slide was shown at the 22nd Space and
Missile Defense Symposium which was held in Huntsville, Alabama earlier this month and
the disclosure came from Army Rapid Capabilities and Critical Technologies Office (RCCTO). Hypersonic weapons development is a relatively
new area and has seen considerable interest in recent times from some countries. LRHW is one of the several Hypersonic weapons
development program being undertaken by the U.S military. Reports suggest the Army is aiming to deploy
the first experimental LRWH battery in 2023. In this video Defense Updates analyzes Long-Range
Hypersonic Weapon (LRHW) of U.S. Let’s get started. This video is sponsored by the free-to-play
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using the link in the description below will also get a free premium tank or aircraft or ship and three days of premium account time as a bonus. An object is said to be hypersonic once they
exceed speeds of Mach 5 that is 5 times the speed of sound. This is about 1,715 meters per second or 3,836
mph or 6,174 km/h. There are currently two methods being applied
to make hypersonic weapons. First is using a Scramjet engine. The scramjet is an innovation on the Ramjet. Ramjet engine can power flight to supersonic
speeds but scramjet can enable the missiles to reach hypersonic speeds. These engines have no moving parts, like the
compressors and turbines used in the turbofan engines found on conventional jet planes. They rely on the huge pressures created by
fast airflow into the engine to ignite the fuel and generate thrust. In this method, a rocket booster is used to
accelerate the missile to hypersonic speed, then the scramjet engine kicks in and enable
the missile to fly at sustained hypersonic speed. Second is using Hypersonic Glide Vehicle (HGV). In this method, the system is launched to
extremely high altitudes using Ballistic Missile or an aircraft where it skips across the Earth’s
upper atmosphere. The vehicle then separates from the carrier
and the scramjet engine takes over, accelerating it to hypersonic speeds as it glides back
to the earth towards its intended target. LRHW will be using Hypersonic Glide Vehicle
methodology. The slide gives an overall description of
LRHW. It consists of a prototype ballistic missile
– an All Up Round, or AUR. As portrayed, the missile is encased in a
canister. The missile has a diameter of 34.5 inches. To give viewers a perspective, a Tomahawk
cruise missile has a diameter of about 20 inches. The missile has Common Hypersonic Glide Body
(C-HGB) placed on top of it. It is developed by Sandia National Laboratory
and the C-HGB will be used by the Army, Navy and Air Force. Viewers may note that the C-HGB is probably
based on the Army Hypersonic Weapon or AHW. A boost-glide vehicle, the AHW was tested
in 2011 and achieved a speed of Mach 8 and a range of almost 4,000 miles or 6437 km. The TELs are the modified M983A4 Heavy Expanded
Mobility Tactical Trucks (HEMTT). M983A4 is currently being used in Patriot
anti-aircraft missile system. An M870 trailer is also shown which will be
used to move the TEL. AFTDS or Advanced Field Artillery Tactical
Data System Version 7.0 will be present for Battle Management duties. The slide shows four Transporter Erector Launchers
(TELs), each with two missile canisters. Countries like Russia, China, Israel, India,
and the U.S have been developing sophisticated layered air defense. These systems are difficult for traditional
aircraft & missiles to penetrate. For example, Russia has deployed S 400 air
defense system. S 400 Triumph is an anti-aircraft weapon system
developed by Russia’s Almaz Central Design Bureau in the 1990s as an upgrade of the S
300 family. it has been in service with the Russian armed
forces since 2007. It is designed to defend against aircraft
including 5th generation stealth fighters, bombers, AWACS, cruise missiles, and even
ballistic missile. S 400 can track hundreds of target at a time,
engage up to 36 targets in parallel and simultaneously launch 72 missiles. Russia is also working on S 500 which will
be even more potent. U.S fields several systems that are designed
to intercept ballistic as well as cruise missiles like THAAD or Terminal High Altitude Area
Defense which is designed to shoot down short, medium, and intermediate-range ballistic missiles
in their terminal phase. US Navy also has a large number of Ticonderoga
class and Arleigh burke class warships which have the Aegis combat system
Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense which is part of the Aegis combat system is devised to intercept
ballistic missiles post-boost phase and before reentry. It uses Standard Missile like SM3, SM6 to
shoot down incoming threats. On the surface, missile defense looks like
a defensive weaponry but it can disturb the MAD equilibrium. Mutually assured destruction (MAD) is a doctrine
of military strategy and national security policy in which a full-scale use of nuclear
weapons by two or more opposing sides would cause the complete annihilation of both the
attacker and the defender. It is based on the theory of deterrence, which
holds that the threat of using strong weapons against the enemy prevents the enemy’s use
of those same weapons. This balance will be disturbed if any country
is able to field a fully functional missile defense system that can defend against the
enemy’s missile. It is to be noted that traditional ballistic
missiles also reach hypersonic speed when then descend on the target but they follow
a predictable predefined parabolic path which could lead to possible interception by anti-ballistic
missile defense systems. This is where hypersonic weapons come in. Their extreme speed and ability to fly in
unpredictable path give them a high probability of penetrating the air defenses. Weapons of this type follow a very different
flight trajectory within the atmosphere and can make rapid course changes. They will be very hard to track and current
air defense systems have almost no chance in intercepting them. The characteristic of Hypersonic weapons makes
it suitable for neutralizing well-defended strategic military assets. These weapons may also have used in neutralizing
incoming enemy missiles, where they will be used as interceptors. Hypersonic weapons are currently being persuaded
mainly by America, Russia, and China. Russian is at the forefront of hypersonic
weapons. It has reached an advanced level with two
hypersonic weapon – Khinzal & Avangard. The Kinzhal or Dagger was one of the weapons
the Russian president Vladimir Putin unveiled in his ‘state of the nation’ address last
year. Kinzhal is a scramjet-powered hypersonic cruise
missile. It reportedly has a range of approximately
1,250 miles or 2000 km and a top speed 10 Mach. According to the Russian president, units
in the country’s Southern Military District, which borders Ukraine and the Black Sea, have
deployed the missiles operationally. Avangard was also unveiled by Mr. Putin during
the same address. It is a nuclear hypersonic boost-glide vehicle
he said would go on the future RS-26 Rubezh ICBM. Putin said Avangard could reach speeds up
to 20 times the speed of sound, hitting its targets “like a meteorite, like a fireball.” China is developing its own hypersonic weapons
and it is is thought to be pursuing a hypersonic cruise missile as well as hypersonic boost-glide
vehicle. For some time, the American military has been
undecided when it comes to developing and deploying hypersonic weapons. This lead to U.S military lagging in this
technology. But things have changed in recent time and
the U.S is now moving with full throttle. As per reports, U.S military is pursuing 9
programs that are dedicated to fielding hypersonic weapons. Not only this, but U.S military is also looking
ahead and studying the feasibility of developing an air defense system that can engage hypersonic
weapons. Hypersonic weapons will play a key part in future battles and it remains to be seen who gets the edge.

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