Military Embedded Systems

Hypersonics prioritized for modernization by Defense Department


March 01, 2021

Emma Helfrich

Technology Editor

Military Embedded Systems

U.S. Department of Defense image.

WASHINGTON. Officials announced that the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) has identified hypersonics as one of the highest priority modernization areas in response to adversaries like Russia and China developing their own capable systems.

Mike White, principal director for hypersonics in the office of the undersecretary of defense for research and engineering, told attendees of the Air Force Association's virtual Aerospace Warfare Symposium that to address these challenges, the DoD has developed a hypersonics modernization strategy that will aim to accelerate the development and delivery of transformational warfighting capabilities.

He said the strategy consists of developing air-, land-, and sea-launched, conventionally-armed hypersonic strike weapons; using comprehensive, layered-defeat of an adversary's tactical hypersonic strike missile capability; and utilizing reusable, hypersonic systems for intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance, and strike, as well as the first stage of a two stage vehicle for rapid access to space.

The strategy consists of four major phases of implementation: Phase 1 is technology development and concept demonstration, Phase 2 is weapon system concept prototype development and demonstration, Phase 3 is the accelerated fielding of prototype weapon system capability, Phase 4 is the creation of acquisition programs and capability phasing plans.


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