Russia tries to catch up with USA's level of hypersonic weapons

A super holding will be established on the basis of the group of companies Tactical Missiles and Military-Industrial Corporation (NPO Mashinostroyenia). The new organization will operate in the field of hypersonic technologies and their development, Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin said. Russia thus tries to keep up with the West, where supersonic missiles will form the basis of strike and missile defense systems.

As the official said, this issue had been discussed for almost six months. "In the first stage, it goes about the creation of a big superholding on the base of Tactical Missiles and the Military-Industrial Corporation," said Rogozin.

Tactical Missiles Corporation was created in 2002 on the basis of Zvezda-Strela federal state unitary enterprise. The corporation includes a number of companies that produce highly efficient missiles, guided bombs and air, land and sea-based arms systems.

"We found an acceptable solution, as to how the superholding will be created. "The project of the decision contains the basic idea - the hypersonic technology," said the official.

Russia is inferior to America in the field of the development of hypersonic technologies. The Pentagon generously spends money on the program of the development of hypersonic aircraft. During the past ten years, the Pentagon has spent about $2 billion on the program.

During the Soviet era, our country had its own experience in this area. In particular, similar technologies were used in the creation of experimental hypersonic aircraft, the X-90, that became known in the West as AS-19 Koala.

Russian engineers worked hard to create supersonic missiles in the mid-1970s. The work was supposed to be completed in the early 1980s. The first hypersonic missile was supposed to be passed into service in 1983. In 1980, according to reports, the prototype of X-90 reached a record speed of 4.3 M (M stands for Mach number that represents the speed of an object moving through air or other fluid divided by the local speed of sound). There is no doubt that Soviet engineers could achieve success and total superiority in the field over the potential enemy, the United States.

"The decision of the top political leadership of the country at the end of the 1980s, when most advanced developments in hypersonic technology were artificially stopped, was nothing than treason," said Dmitry Rogozin.

Over this period, the Americans eliminated the long-standing gap, which could become possible with the help of Soviet developments that migrated overseas. The Americans have already built hypersonic vehicles. Last week, the U.S. tested X-51 WaveRider hypersonic missile, which, as reported by the media, was unsuccessful. However, the missile is capable of reaching the speed of nearly 7,000 kilometers per hour, which is six times the speed of sound. The appearance of such systems in the modern army may considerably change the existing missile parity.

Russia officially returned to this topic in 2009, when the Defense Ministry ordered to resume research works to develop hypersonic arms systems. Now, according to Rogozin, the Russian defense industry must "cut corners" to reach the technological level the USA has already achieved.

In organizational terms, Rogozin believes, one should establish "super for hyper" - a superholding for hypersonic arms. Judging by the announced plans, Russia's scientific potential for breakthrough in this area is not enough. In addition to the Military-Industrial Corporation and Tactical Missiles, the project may get Indian design bureaus involved that already have working experience with Russia as part of the Brahmos project.

"It's not only the integration of brains and the industrial potential. In the future, we will need to think about the test site ... We believe that with the help of this association, rather than takeover, we can accelerate the work in the field of hyper sound," Deputy Prime Minister said about the plans for the superholding.

As usual, scientific discoveries in the field of defense can then be transferred to civil technologies. In early September, the head of Tactical Missiles Corporation,  Boris Obnosov, told reporters that the development of hypersonic technologies will contribute to the discovery of new technologies, including new types of fuel. According to him, hypersound is "very well related to aerodynamics, engine-building, avionics."

Vladimir Shabanov.

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Author`s name Dmitry Sudakov