Russian Scientists Have Created a Hypersonic Weapon They Say Not Even the US Can Stop
The last thing you want to hear from your country's top nuclear commander is that a potential enemy has a weapon that would be virtually unstoppable, should they choose to point it in your direction.
According to reports, over the past couple of years, Russia has successfully tested a hypersonic glide weapon called the Avangard, which can carry a nuclear warhead, travel 3,100 miles per hour, and evade US defenses thanks to its maneuverability.
Another test of the weapon is reportedly scheduled for this summer, and the weapon is expected to be war ready by 2020.
Avangard is designed to be attached to an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM).
Once launched, the weapon sails on top of the Earth's atmosphere and reenters at hypersonic speeds towards its target.
"We don't have any defense that could deny the employment of such a weapon against us," Gen. John Hyten told the Senate Armed Services Committee back in March.
Because we don't currently have a way to stop Avangard, Hyten argued that the US needs to have a "deterrent" to stop Russia from using it.
"I strongly agree with the need for a low-yield nuclear weapon," he said of a request for one by the Pentagon, adding that Putin has been promising the use of low-yield nuclear weapons in war since 2000.
"These kinds of boost-glide vehicles attack the gaps in our missile defense system," Thomas Karako of the Missile Defense Project at the Center for Strategic and International Studies told CNBC.
Karako added that it is "unfortunate that we have let Russia come this far," and said that now is the time to act before it is too late. In April, security and aerospace company Lockheed Martin secured a $928 million contract to build hypersonic weapons for the US Air Force.
"This could forever change our ability to deter and respond to conflict, allowing warfighters to quickly address threats before an adversary may have time to react," said Lockheed Martin CEO Marillyn Hewson. So it looks like the strategy now is to play a dangerous game of chicken with bigger and faster chickens, but that may be the only option since simply asking Russia to not develop scary weapons probably won't work.