War in Ukraine relaunches race for hypersonic weapons

The Pentagon revealed, on May 10, that Russia had drawn 10 to 12 hypersonic missiles since the beginning of the Ukrainian conflict, in addition to that mediated in mid-March.


This is one of the many military effects of war in Ukraine. While Russia carried out, in mid-March, the first operational shot of a claimed missile as hypersonic, the US defense ministry revealed, Tuesday, May 10, that Moscow had drawn at least ten or twelve other missiles of this type Since the start of the conflict, “mainly on military targets”. An announcement that feeds reflections on a revival of armaments programs around these weapons, mainly in the United States, but also in the United Kingdom, or more discreetly, in France.

On March 19, Russia had caused a stir by claiming to have used for the first time, the day before, a missile called “Kinjal”, launched from a fighter plane, in order to destroy an underground armament warehouse located in western Ukraine. A shot that had been confirmed, a few days later, by the United States, then by European sources. Many experts had seen it as a pure exercise in force, without much tactical interest. The confirmation of this ten new shots, which may have taken place for some around mid-April, in the east and the south of Ukraine, therefore nevertheless rekindles the interest of a certain number of Staff for this hypervéloce technology.

Long engaged in five to six development programs for this type of missile, the United States is the least hidden. While $ 15 billion (14 billion euros) are intended by the Pentagon on hypersonics between 2015 and 2024, the American agency for Advanced Defense Research Projects (DARPA) said on May 9 , that she sought to obtain an additional $ 60 million for her 2023 budget, in order to mature new technological bricks linked to these missiles, very complex and very expensive to develop. Unlike Russia, the United States is still in the testing phase.

“unpredictable trajectory”

On April 5, as part of the Aukus Alliance, which has brought together the United States, the United Kingdom and Australia, London and Canberra since November 2021, have in turn publicly positioned in the race for the ‘hypersonic. Beyond the joint nuclear propulsion submarines program which had led to the termination of a French sales contract of ships to Australia, the new allies declared, by press release, to be engaged in “a new Trilateral cooperation on hypersonics and counter-hypers “. An announcement which is a lot of display, but which is significant of Western fears vis-à-vis these weapons that no anti-missile defense appears today capable of countering.

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/Media reports.