Russia isn’t the only country looking to build invincible hypersonic weapons. Here’s the latest on the U.S. efforts to send missiles and even aircraft five times faster than sound.
Last spring, representatives from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, or DARPA, came to the office of then-Deputy Secretary of Defense Bob Work and laid out some hard truths about U.S. development of hypersonic weapons — the ones meant to travel more than five times faster than sound. The message from the military scientists: U.S. hypersonics aren’t keeping up with Russia and China.
Early on Thursday, national-security professionals across Washington, D.C., awoke to news that Russian President Vladimir Putin was claiming to have created an air-defense-beating, “invincible” hypersonic missile — though offering no particular proof. New DARPA director Steven Walker declined to comment on Putin’s assertion but told defense reporters that his teams are working as they can to test a hypersonic missile before 2020 — and that they need more help.
'Let it be an arms race,' Trump said, two years ago. Now we have one. It doesn't have to be this way.
BY JOE CIRINCIONE
If you missed the Cold War, it looked a lot like right now, plus a Berlin Wall. Last month, the United States announced three new nuclear weapons to be aimed at Russia, at least in part. This month begins with Russian President Vladimir Putin in his annual state-of-the-nation address unveiling five new nuclear arms of his own — weapons he claims can fly around, under, over, and through any conceivable missile defense system.
Boasting? Absolutely. But it’s like bragging about a muscle car you already have in the garage. These weapons are in development, some are far-fetched, but all are possible. To underscore the point, the last few frames of his “Star Wars”-style computer graphics presentation showed nine nuclear warheads delivered by one new missile heading directly for Mar-a-Lago.
The new missile is monster. The “Sarmat” is a 200-ton, very long-range intercontinental ballistic missile, or ICBM, shown in a cartoon graphic carrying multiple warheads over both the North and South Poles. Why the South? Because all our radars point north and our ground-based interceptor missiles are in Alaska. The “Sarmat will be equipped with a wide range of high-power nuclear ammunition, including hypersonic,” said Putin. “And the most modern systems to overcome missile defense.”
The hypersonic ammunition he mentions is the “Avangard” hypersonic boost-glide weapon. Instead of a free-falling ballistic missile, this weapon, similar to ones under development in the United States and China, would be able to maneuver in flight to evade interceptors. President Putin claims that it “heads towards its target like a meteorite.”
1962, Korabl-Sputnik 1 landed smack in the middle of a main street in Wisconsin
Korabl-Sputnik 1, called Sputnik 4 in the West, wasn’t one of the Soviet Union’s greatest triumphs of the early space age. Following a successful mission, a flawed retrofire burn kept the spacecraft aloft until its orbit decayed, sprinkling radioactive metallic debris over Wisconsin.
Korabl-Spunik 1 was the first in a series of missions designed to check out new technologies for the Soviet's manned spaceflight program, namely the Vostok spacecraft and its life support system. To this end, the mission launched with a suite of scientific instruments, a television system, and a humanoid dummy housed in a pressurized cabin.
By Xinling Wang
Having pledged to control macro debt in three years while slowing growth down, the Chinese government is increasingly driving home its deleveraging message. As the government seeks to cope with the political football of local debts, the dynamics of the Chinese apparatus this year will shape the country’s prospects for fiscal federalism.
Fiscal federalism emerged in 2014 responding to soft budget constraints on local governments. While enabling the mobilization of financial means to achieve growth targets beyond fiscal capacity, the government’s strong control over financial institutions also blurs financial and fiscal boundaries. At the local level, high pressure to achieve growth (and thus ensure a promotion) have led local officials to borrow off the books or resort to land sales to raise revenue, resulting in debt piles in the financial system.