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Game-changing Weaponry Development PDF Print E-mail
Within a decade, if not sooner, leap-ahead technologies like lasers, hypersonic weapons, mobile and secure networks and unmanned/autonomous air and ground vehicles will likely reside in combat formations, said the Army's secretary.

Peer threats from China and Russia -- nations also developing these technologies -- make fielding these systems absolutely necessary, said Secretary of the Army Mark T. Esper, who spoke Wednesday at the Center for a New American Security here.

The secretary provided a glimpse into some of these new capabilities that the Army is developing, in partnership with industry, as part of its six modernization priorities.

LONG-RANGE PRECISION FIRES

"The Army is looking at hypersonics as game changer in its No. 1 modernization priority: long-range precision fires," Esper said.

Hypersonic weapons can fire rounds or a projectile hundreds of miles, he said. "That gives us an incredible ability to reach out and hurt an adversary or at least to hold him at bay," he said. Further, it would buy time for maneuver forces to secure objectives on the battlefield.

Projectiles of hypersonic weapons travel at speeds of Mach 5 or more using a supersonic combustion ramjets. Mach 5 is a speed well above high-performance jets that cruise at Mach 3 or 4 at their fastest. Experts say that cruise missiles or even unmanned aerial systems could eventually be modified to make them hypersonic.

 
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