JC again

The Wall Street Journal ran a long-form story yesterday headlined, “Hypersonic Missiles Are Game-Changers, and America Doesn’t Have Them.” The sub-headline glumly explained, “The U.S. military is pouring resources into the superfast weapons but has struggled to develop them. China and Russia are far ahead.”

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China’s and Russia’s hypersonic missiles can attack enemies with extreme speed, up to five times the speed of sound, and can travel around the world in an hour. They make most air defenses obsolete. They can carry conventional explosives or nuclear warheads. Both China and Russia have them ready to use. But the U.S. doesn’t.

To say the super-fast missiles are ‘game changers’ is to understate the case. For example, they are aircraft carrier destroyers. The Journal admitted, “Even the most advanced U.S. warship in the South China Sea could be defenseless against a hypersonic attack.” The weapons appear to make the aircraft carrier obsolete, ending a generation of naval strategy leaving nothing obvious in its place.

How did this happen? How did we get so far behind?

It’s not like we haven’t known about the problem. The article reported that the U.S. has been working on hypersonic planes and weapons for 60 years, spending billions of dollars across dozens of programs. All the programs failed or were canceled.