Published: Feb. 4, 2021

Iain BoydProfessor Iain Boyd discusses the development of new hypersonic defense systems in a new column at Defense News:

A recent article in The New York Times strongly implied that hypersonic weapons under development at the U.S. Department of Defense are being overhyped. In particular, several points made in a recent Science & Global Security publication by Cameron L. Tracy and David Wright, “Modeling the Performance of Hypersonic Boost-Glide Missiles,” are highlighted that question the value of hypersonic weapons. Here’s what those authors got wrong in their analysis of hypersonics:

First, it is important to note that the article focused on strategic (long-range) hypersonic systems. The weapons are boosted by a rocket to high altitude and then glide and maneuver to their target, hence the terminology “boost-glide.” These long range systems form a subset of all DoD hypersonic activities. Within the simplifying assumptions made for strategic systems in the published analysis, there is certainly some merit to the data presented and conclusions drawn. Hypersonic systems may take longer to fly a particular range than existing ballistic systems. It may be possible to detect hypersonic systems from space using existing sensors. Read the full column at Defense News...