The US is trying to catch up with Russia in developing hypersonic weapons, Defense Secretary Mark Esper said at the Reagan National Defense Forum. Russia has been leading the race in hypersonic missile technology with Avangard Hypersonic Glide Vehicle emerging as a prominent armament in the Russian armory.
“We took a pause on these technologies some years ago, when we had a clear lead. And what we are doing now, we are planning catchup,” Esper said. “The department is investing every dollar it can” in order to gain an advance in hypersonic weapons, the Secretary added.
Earlier, Deputy Prime Minister Yuri Borisov stated that the Avangard Hypersonic Glide Vehicle cruises twenty-seven times faster than the speed of sound, making it virtually impossible to intercept. “The latest tests have shown that it has reached speeds close to 30 Machs. Practically at these speeds, no anti-missile can knock it down,” Borisov said.
“The Avangard Hypersonic Glide Vehicle has cost hundreds of times less than what the US has spent on its missile defence,” Ivanov said, cited by Associated Press. He noted that Russia began to develop the Avangard after 2002 when the US withdrew from the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty and began developing defences against ballistic missiles.