Hypersonics Development a Pentagon Top Technical Priority

A computer simulation shows off a new hypersonic weapon from Russia. (RU-RTR Russian Television via AP)

A computer simulation shows off a new hypersonic weapon from Russia. (RU-RTR Russian Television via AP)

May 17, 2018 | Source: Defense News, defensenews.com, 6 March 2018, Aaron Mehta

WASHINGTON ― As China and Russia threaten to overtake the U.S. with new technologies, development of hypersonic capabilities is the “highest technical priority” for Michael Griffin, the Pentagon’s new undersecretary of defense for research and engineering.

“I’m sorry for everybody out there who champion some other high priority, some technical thing; it’s not that I disagree with those. But there has to be a first, and hypersonics is my first,” Griffin said at the McAleese/Credit Suisse conference Tuesday, in his first public comments since taking office 10 days ago.

The department will be looking to invest more in both offensive hypersonics capabilities and ways to defend against the threat, with new budget items likely to appear in the fiscal 2020 budget, Griffin said, adding that the goal is to leapfrog the work that China and Russia are doing in the hypersonic realm.

“I didn’t take this job so that we could regain parity with our adversaries. As I’ve taken to saying: ‘I want to see their hand and raise them one. I want to make them worry about catching up with us again,’ ” he said. “Any American, any ally or partner that we have who doesn't see it that way, I don’t have time for you.”

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