Credit: U.S. Air Force

The U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) has issued a Science & Tech Spotlight on hypersonic weapons.

As the GAO spotlight notes, hypersonic weapons, once developed, would fly faster than 3,800 mph and be extremely difficult to defend against.

Credit: GAO

“Advances in hypersonic technologies have significant implications for national security, as well as for transportation and space systems,” the GAO  reports. “Research and development of offensive and defensive capabilities in hypersonics is and will remain critically important.”

Credit: GAO

Hypersonic weapon want-to-haves

Along with CRS staff inputs, the spotlight has been reviewed by Timothy Persons, Chief Scientist of the GAO, pointing out that hypersonic weapons are expected to:

  • Fly at least 3,800 mph (about 5 times the speed of sound)
  • Fly at lower altitudes than ballistic missiles
  • Be highly maneuverable
  • Be able to change targets during flight
  • Be extremely difficult to defend against

But what are the implications of the commercialization of hypersonic technologies and vehicles?

Go to this GAO appraisal at:

https://www.gao.gov/assets/710/701369.pdf

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