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Defense Secretary Austin to attend meeting with CEOs from hypersonics industry

  • January 27, 2022


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U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin will deliver remarks at a virtual meeting next week that includes CEOs from the hypersonics industry in an effort to accelerate the development of these capabilities as rivals have shown significant advancements in recent months.

The meeting is scheduled for Feb. 3, and some of the topics will range from engineering concepts and how to develop these new systems. The Biden administration rebuked China in December after reports emerged of the test of a hypersonic weapon that Austin said “increases tensions in the region.”

FILE: Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin is set to attend a meeting about hypersonic technology next week that is considered a top priority for the Pentagon. (Photo by Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images)
( Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images)

The Financial Times reported in November that Beijing managed to fire off a hypersonic missile in July that traveled at least five times the speed of sound, a “capability no country has previously demonstrated.” More troubling, perhaps, was the report that Pentagon scientists were stunned by the advancement. The hypersonic glide vehicle was maneuverable and capable of carrying a warhead, the report said.

FILE 2019: DF-17 Dongfeng medium-range ballistic missiles equipped with a DF-ZF hypersonic glide vehicle, involved in a military parade to mark the 70th anniversary of the Chinese People’s Republic. Zoya Rusinova/TASS (Photo by Zoya RusinovaTASS via Getty Images)
(Zoya RusinovaTASS via Getty Images)

The threat is not isolated to China. Russia, and most recently, North Korea have both claimed successful launches. 


President Biden has said he is concerned about the Chinese missiles. Beijing fired off another missile in August that entered space and just narrowly missed its target.

FILE 2018: The warhead of the Avangard hypersonic boost-glide weapon being tested. Russia’s military-industrial complex has developed the Avangard strategic intercontinental ballistic missile system equipped with a gliding hypersonic maneuvering warhead. (Photo by TASSTASS via Getty Images)
(Photo by TASSTASS via Getty Images)

The country that first masters the new technology is seen to have a significant advantage to deliver a devastating first strike in the event of war, although missile systems in allied countries, submarines and strategic bombers may also be able to deliver a swift response to a launch.


Sen. Angus King, R-Maine, said last October that these weapons are a “strategic game-changer,” according to Reuters. He said the U.S. “cannot lag in this development or allow for blind spots as we monitor the progress of our competitors.”

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