THE Navy will install 4,000mph hypersonic missiles on its high-tech submarines by 2025, a top Vice Admiral has said.
Vice Adm. Johnny Wolfe, head of the Navy’s Strategic Systems Programs, said the futuristic rockets will replace long-range nuclear weapons on attack subs.
Hypersonic missiles can travel more than five times faster than the speed of sound.
Wolfe said installing the weapons “is very much a priority within the Navy” after conducting “extremely successful” flight tests.
Speaking yesterday to the Naval Submarine League, he said the missiles would be deployed to the Ohio-class guided-missile submarines (SSGNs) by 2025.
The US currently has four SSGNs.
He said that by 2028 the weaponry, dubbed Conventional Prompt Strike (CSP) capability, would also be installed in more attack submarines.
Wolfe said: “In Conventional Prompt Strike we are focused on how do we … take all of the successes that we’ve had in the research development and flight testing and start production and transition that into a military capability that we can give to the Army at about the 2023 time frame and continue to push that forward so that we get to a Navy capability on SSGN in the 2025 time frame.”
He said CSP “is a very rapid program but we are having a lot of success.”
“Right at the beginning of the COVID [pandemic] we flew our second Navy flight test of this hypersonic glide body”, he added.
The strategic weapons chief said the test flight was “extremely successful” and had exceeded every test requirement, reports Navy news outlet Sea Power.
He said the CSP program was on a very strict timeline but added that “for a conventional capability, this really is a game changer.”
This comes after Russia successfully tested an "unstoppable" hypersonic missile that can fly through the air at more than 6,000mph.
The nuclear weapon was fired from a naval ship in the White Sea, north of Russia, earlier this month to celebrate Vladimir Putin's 68th birthday.
The Russian military reported the successful test launch on Wednesday, marking a major shift in escalating nuclear tensions with the West.
Known as Zircon, the nuke is said to travel faster than the speed of sound, making it too quick for US and UK anti-missile systems.
Meanwhile, China unleashed a fleet of new destroyers which has the power to wipe out US warships in the South China Sea.
Military experts say the news proves the superpower's naval development has entered a "crucial new stage" amid mounting tensions in the disputed waters.
The unveiling of the Type 055 and Type 052D destroyers came just days after the decommissioning of multiple outdated Type 051 destroyers.
And weeks after US aircraft carriers sailed through the South China Sea after Washington accused Beijing of a "campaign of bullying" in the region.
The USS Nimitz and USS Ronald Reagan travelled with their strike groups into the sea in mid July in a major show of strength to China.
Hong Kong-based media group Takung Wenwei reported the Peoples Liberation Army's new destroyers were launched from the Dalian Shipyard on Sunday morning.
Analysts say the state-of-the-art warships are more than a match for the world's top destroyers – including the US's Zumwalt-class.
They will take the place of warships which have been in service for the PLA since the 1970s, reports the Global Times.
China has prioritised updating its naval fleet over the past 12 months as part of £220 billion military spending programme.
It's reported it now boasts around 20 modern, aegis-type destroyers, and in four to five years that number is expected to double.
It's total naval fleet now stands at 777 vessels compared to the US's 490.
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