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US hypersonic missile hit within 6 inches of target says Army Secretary

A common hypersonic glide body (C-HGB) launches from Pacific Missile Range Facility, Kauai, Hawaii, at approximately 10:30 p.m. local time, March 19, 2020, during a Department of Defense flight experiment. (Oscar Sosa/U.S. Navy)
October 14, 2020

U.S. Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy announced that a hypersonic missile being developed by the Pentagon has hit within six inches of its target, showing the military’s modernization efforts are progressing.

“Our modernization efforts and investments are maturing with tranches of advanced equipment,” McCarthy said during his remarks at the opening ceremony of the virtual Association of the U.S. Army conference on Tuesday. McCarthy listed a hypersonic missile as among the advanced equipment in development by the U.S. military.

“Hypersonic missiles are hitting their targets with a variance of only a mere 6 inches,” McCarthy said.

McCarthy’s remarks appeared to point to the successful March 19 test of the common hypersonic glide body (C-HGB). The C-HGB is being developed in partnership between the Army and U.S. Navy, and the hypersonic weapon system.

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Hypersonic weapons are classified as those that can reach speeds in excess of five times the speed of sound, Mach 5, approximately 3,836 miles per hour.

McCarthy’s comments about the advancements of U.S. hypersonic missile technology comes after the Russia, last week, released a video of its latest hypersonic missile test, demonstrating the 3M22 Tsirkon hypersonic cruise missile, which Russian First Deputy Defence Minister Valery Gerasimov said could reach Mach 8 speed, approximately 6,138 miles per hour.

In 2018, Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK), a senior member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, warned that the U.S. was lagging behind Russia and China in the pursuit of hypersonic weapons.

In his Tuesday remarks, McCarthy listed the hypersonic missile alongside the integrated visual augmentation system (IVAS) and the integrated air and missile defense battle command system (IBCS) as among the technologies being developed for future use within the U.S. Army.

“These new units are being arrayed for the future fight, through the regional aligned readiness and modernization model, known as the RE-ARM process, which brings order and predictability to transformation,” McCarthy said.

When the U.S. C-HBG hypersonic weapons is fully ready, it will reportedly comprise a conventional warhead, guidance system, cabling, and thermal protection shield. The Army and Navy will be developing individual weapons systems tailored to be launched from land or the sea, respectively.

According to Defense News, the Army is developing a ground-based launch system with plans to field a battery-sized hypersonic weapon to soldiers by 2023.

Lt. Gen. L. Neil Thurgood told Defense News that the Army is preparing for another hypersonic weapon test flight in the third quarter of the 2021 fiscal year and a second test flight in the first quarter of the 2022 fiscal year.