Hypersonic Breakthrough Coming Soon

A new-generation hypersonic attack weapon could be operational in 10 years or less if the Air Force chooses to pursue such a capability, according to Richard Hallion, former chief Air Force historian. Such a weapon would likely be an air- or sea-launched missile capable of flying faster than mach 5. It may be similar in size to the experimental X-51A, Hallion told attendees of a seminar on hypersonics that AFA’s Mitchell Institute for Airpower Studies sponsored Wednesday in Arlington, Va. The seminar coincided with the release of Hypersonic Power Projection, the new Mitchell Paper authored by Hallion. He said hypersonic munitions could “breathe new life” into aging and old US systems, giving them a substantial new, high-speed standoff capability outside the range of increasingly lethal enemy air defenses.