Washington (AFP) – The US Air Force is providing nearly $ 1 billion to Lockheed Martin for the development and development of a hypersonic rocket that can be launched from a fighter plane
The contract follows repeated warnings from senior defense officials rapid progress of China and Russia in the field of hypersonic weapons, where rockets can fly with multiple speeds of sound and avoid missile defense systems.
In a statement released late Wednesday, the Pentagon said Lockheed will receive up to $ 928 million the new non-nuclear missile calls it the "hypersonic conventional weapon."
"This contract provides for the design, development, construction, system integration, testing, logistics planning, and aircraft integration of all elements of a hypersonic, conventional, airborne, projecting weapon," the statement said.
On Thursday, Mike Griffin, the Pentagon's new defense secretary for research and technology, China said, "A pretty sophisticated system" for a supersonic rocket that strikes thousands of miles away.
"With today's defense systems, we will not see these things coming," Griffin said.
Hypersonic weapons can beat regular missile defense systems because they are designed to change direction in flight and not follow a predictable arc like conventional missiles, making them harder to track and intercept.
Russian President Vladimir Putin claimed in February that he had developed a new kind of hypersonic missile that is impenetrable to any Western shield.
Gary Pennett, director of operations at the Missile Defense Agency, said recently enemy hyperspace weapons – which could be launched from aircraft, ships or submarines – would create a "significant" gap in US sensor and missile interception capabilities ,
The MDA has called for $ 120 million to develop hypersonic missile defense, a major increase of $ 75 million in fiscal 2018.