A heightened focus in Congress and the Pentagon is developing on a weapon that could strike a target anywhere in the world in under an hour, says a new report from the Congressional Research Service described in Joseph Farah’s G2 Bulletin.
“The interest is driven by both the perceived mission need for conventional prompt strike systems and concerns about falling behind Russia and China in the development of these technologies,” the new report said.
“The United States is pursuing two key technologies for this purpose: boost-glide systems that place a hypersonic glider atop a ballistic missile booster and hypersonic cruise missiles that would use scramjet technologies.”
It was in the 2001 Nuclear Posture Review that President George W. Bush’s administration “demonstrated an interest in the use of conventional weapons for precision, long-range strike missions.”
The quest was joined at that time by the Pentagon, through several studies “also called on the United States to develop the capability to attack targets around the world, in under an hour, with conventional warheads.”
The interest was maintained during the Barack Obama administration, with comments that the availability could reduce “the role of nuclear weapons in U.S. security strategy.”
Under President Trump, there’s been a continued interest for the development of such long-range precision conventional weapons, the report said.
The Department of Defense has said the weapons would fulfill a new mission to bolster U.S. efforts to deter and defeat adversaries that are high-value targets or “fleeting targets.”
The U.S. might suddenly be given information regarding the whereabouts of a terror mastermind or a warning about impending violence.
The Defense Department has considered the possibility of using bombers, cruise missiles, ballistic missiles, boost-glide technologies and other weapons.
Early in the review process, analysts identified long-range ballistic missiles armed with conventional weapons as a solution, the report said.
Launched from submarines, the missiles could threaten any target worldwide with “a high degree of precision in a short amount of time.”
But then proposals for hypersonic weapons came into focus.
“Some analysts have questioned the need for these programs, raising concerns, for example, about the possibility that U.S. adversaries might misinterpret the launch of a missile with conventional warheads and conclude that the missiles carry nuclear weapons. They have also questioned whether existing U.S. military capabilities might meet the need for prompt, conventional attacks in most potential conflict scenarios without raising the risk of miscalculation or misunderstanding,” the report said.