Russia and China leaving U.S. behind

Southside Matt

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Russia and China FlagsDepositPhotos.com

It has been widely reported that, over the summer, China tested a hypersonic missile that circled Earth. It is now reported that the vehicle used is even more advanced than previously stated.

The vehicle is reported to have expelled a secondary device during its flight, indicating that the missile contained more than one warhead capable of hypersonic performance.

As the vehicle performed a Low Earth Orbit (LEO) in circling the globe, its danger as a weapon goes beyond the terrestrial. This indicates the possibility of attacking space-based objects such as satellites.

Once used primarily for weather, mapping, and long-distance communications, satellites now affect virtually every aspect of life. Satellites provide locations for emergency services to follow, as well as for civilians to use in finding their way around town. Satellites also provide connections for many point-of-sale (POS) checkout systems used in stores of all types. Satellites are, in today’s world, mostly known for providing television and video services as well as internet services to rural areas. Even though cellular services generally use terrestrial towers, their systems also connect via satellites, particularly for long-distance calls both domestic and international.

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Space Satellites and DebrisEuropean Space Agency

While the United States has been testing motors to be used in hypersonic vehicles, no successful attempts have been made to launch a fully-assembled apparatus. CNN reported that the U.S. had attempted and failed its own hypersonic missile tests just last month.

Following China’s lead, Russia test-fired a Tsirkon hypersonic missile into the Arctic on November 18. Whereas the Chinese missile was launched from a land-based platform, the Russian missile was deployed from the ship Admiral Gorshkov, according to the Moscow Times.

Russian President Vladimir Putin stated that hypersonic missiles such as those successfully launched and tested by Russia and China are “invincible.” Pres. Putin characterized the missiles this way due to the fact that they can travel at up to five times the speed of sound (MACH-5) and can maneuver mid-flight. This makes the missiles much harder to track and intercept, providing extreme challenges to defending against them.

Another similarity between the Russian and Chinese missiles is their ability to carry and deploy nuclear warheads. A memo from the Congressional Research Service (CRS) provided to Congress on October 19 showed the disparity between these programs and that of the U.S. as it stated, “most U.S. hypersonic weapons, in contrast to those in Russia and China, are not being designed for use with a nuclear warhead.”

Space Force General David Thompson echoed this sentiment at the Halifax International Security Forum in Canada on Saturday when he called the U.S. capabilities “not as advanced” as those of Russia and China. “We have catching up to do very quickly, the Chinese have an incredible hypersonic program. It’s a very concern development…it greatly complicates the strategic warning problem.”

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Missile in FlightDepositPhotos.com

China’s hypersonic missile test came seemingly as a surprise to many and leads to the belief that it has just a single type of vehicle. Russia, though, has successfully tested three different types of hypersonic missiles, consisting of the Tsirkon (sea-based), Avangard (land-based), and Kinzhal (air-based), that provide a triple threat to its foes.

These four different hypersonic missile classes by the two largest foes of the United States, particularly compared with the fact that the U.S. has yet to successfully complete a single test, indicate that the U.S. is, indeed, falling behind its foes militarily.

According to the CRS memo, the U.S. is set to spend $3.8 billion in Fiscal Year (FY) 2020 to do the “catching up” that Gen. Thompson indicated is necessary.

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Hailing from the Great State of Texas, South Side Matt monitors government for compliance with the Constitutional values that founded the United States, and works to maintain liberty for all in that spirit. His articles focus on furthering this cause, but also occasionally go "off track" into lighter topics such as cooking, general life and others.

Fort Worth, TX
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