Russia Makes Historic Announcement Over New Missile Launch

Russia Makes Historic Announcement Over New Missile Launch

( – On October 4th, Russia put another feather in their proverbial military cap. The foreign nation’s Defense Ministry announced the successful launch of two hypersonic cruise missiles from a Yasen-class nuclear submarine known as Severodvinsk. The historic announcement marks the potential start of a new era of military technology.

A Russian user later posted a short clip of the launch to YouTube.

Advanced Technology

Raytheon Missiles and Defense claims hypersonic weapons are capable of “travel[ing] in excess of five times the speed of sound.” This significant rate would make a cruise missile extremely difficult to stop; it could travel great distances in minutes.

Hypersonic missiles initially use a rocket booster to reach cruising speed. A scramjet, first tested by Australian space engineer and Professor Ray Stalker in the 1980s, then kicks in, propelling the weapon onward.

Scramjet engines operate by pushing air into the combustion chamber at supersonic speeds. This type of engine can theoretically reach speeds of Mach 15.

The History of Hypersonic Weapons

Scientific American says military powers began chasing hypersonic technology in the 1930s. During WWII, German scientists developed a glider that could theoretically achieve hypersonic speeds; they found it too costly to construct. Yet, the same advancements in aerospace technology made hypersonic weapons more achievable.

The race to completion began a short time later. Russia and China now lead that development process, at least according to this 2018 article by CNBC. The US wasn’t far behind at the time.

Three years later, America continues to close the gap. On June 23rd, National Defense Magazine published an article boasting that they will complete testing and procurement for the US Air Force’s hypersonic rocket “ARRW” (pronounced “arrow”) in 2022. This date falls only slightly behind Russia’s development date for the 3M22 Zircon.

Future Defense

With most world superpowers chasing hypersonic weapon technology, developing a solid defense against such attacks is critical. The Missile Defense Agency (MDA) says American assets, including the Aegis Ship’s launch-on-remote weaponry feature and the Sea-Based X-Band Terminal, are already capable of tracking hypersonic missiles.

Former President Trump also started an initiative to launch a satellite dubbed the Hypersonic and Ballistic Tracking Space Sensor (HBTSS) during his time in office. That project continues even now, in 2021.

Russia test firing their new hypersonic missile is proof the global arms race continues. The US will undoubtedly respond with a shiny new weapon of their own, if only to keep Russia in check. Yet, the military’s confidence in their ability to defend against foreign enemy attacks is encouraging. Is anyone brave enough to put them up to the task?

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