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Full Speed Ahead: Hypersonic Threats and Ship Survivability


Hypersonic anti-ship missiles are a fast-approaching threat forcing new demands on navies to protect their major surface combatants

Hypersonic flight is generally understood to refer to speeds above Mach 5, or roughly almost 4,000 mile per hour. The extreme heat and pressure forces created by travelling at such speeds, especially at low altitudes where anti-ship missiles must operate, are barriers that missile engineers have until recently found insurmountable. However, the US Air Force (USAF) has tested a prototype hypersonic cruise missile, the X-51 Waverider, since 2010, and China has tested the WU-14

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WRITTEN BY

Justin Bronk

Research Fellow, Airpower & Technology

Military Sciences

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