The US Navy has outlined a more specific timing for the deployment of hypersonic weapons currently under development. Officials this week said that hypersonic deployment was a priority and would happen on submarines by 2025. Previously, the Navy has only committed to a vague mid-2020’s timeline so this is progress towards a move out of the development stage. This news underscores the Navy’s priority to develop the conventional prompt strike program as an alternative to long-range nuclear weapons.
William Davies, Associate Analyst at GlobalData, comments: “This statement expresses clear confidence that the development of hypersonic weapons will result in deployable technology in the near future. The Navy is currently funding the conventional Prompt Strike program and has requested over $1B for hypersonic spending in 2021. Moving to production and deployment as well as reconfiguring weapons systems on relevant vessels would require increased funding over the next five years.”
The exact submarines and ships that would initially be equipped with Hypersonic weapons have previously been announced as being Block V Virginia Class submarines, with Ohio Class submarines following later in the decade. In terms of the surface fleet, the capability will first be fitted to the Zumwalt-class destroyers following the Virginia Class. Arleigh Burke-class destroyers will also be equipped, despite the cost of structural modifications necessary to this older platform.”
GlobalData’s report: Hypersonic Technologies-Thematic Research, details the key trends in Hypersonics over the next year, and details leaders in the area as well as challengers. It also covers key advancements in the area as well as areas that will receive increased investment in the near future.
Davies continues: “This news follows an update earlier this month that the Pentagon is expanding its Hypersonics transitions office, this is the department in charge of transitioning these weapons from development to an official program which is key to the future fielding of the weapon. The Navy’s success in testing the hypersonic glide body has given it confidence that it is approaching the production stage, and the next challenge it faces is getting the industrial base capacity to the appropriate level.”