US Admiral Discloses America’s Sole Means of Defence Against Hypersonic Missiles

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RT: Russia and China deployed their first hypersonic capabilities in 2017 and 2019, respectively. Research into the new class of armaments was resumed in the early 2000s, after Washington scrapped the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty, which put severe limits on the creation of a shield meant to destroy traditional intercontinental ballistic missiles.

The Standard Missile 6 (SM-6), the surface-to-air, anti-ballistic and anti-ship missile used by the US Navy, is currently America’s only means of defence against enemy hypersonic weapons, Vice Admiral Jon Hill said.

Speaking at a symposium hosted by the American Society of Naval Engineers last week, Hill assured attendees that the Navy already has the capability to pick up on enemy hypersonic missiles using existing sensor arrays. “We’re seeing them, we’re capturing data, we’re collecting on them,” he said.

These sensors, he admitted, are “not always in the exact right place, because many of them are land-based and stationery because sensors are purpose-built for a particular part of the battlespace.”

“We have that and the SM-6 missile with its nascent capability to take on a hypersonic [missile]. We didn’t call it that back when we got the letter from the [Chief of Naval Operations] to go develop this programme. But the whole idea was to handle high-speed manoeuvre,” Hill said.

The vice-admiral suggested that the SM-6 is “really the nation’s only hypersonic defence capability” at the moment.

Hill noted that the Aegis Combat System stationed aboard some US Navy warships, together with the Navy’s RIM-66 Standard SAM missiles, would also have the job of defending against ballistic and hypersonic threats in the terminal phase – i.e. the final phase of the flight when a trajectory has been determined.

He admitted however that these terminal defences are not sufficient against hypersonic threats.

Launches a RIM-174 Standard ERAM (Standard Missile-6, SM-6)
CC0 / /

The SM-6, also known as the RIM-174 and the Standard Extended Range Active Missile (ERAM), was developed by Raytheon in the 2000s and entered service with the US Navy in 2013. The Australian and South Korean navies and the Japan Maritime Self Defence Force have purchased the weapon. In addition to their primary role against aircraft, drones and missiles, the systems are also touted as an anti-ship cruise missile.

With the US military having no hypersonic missile systems of its own at the moment, the SM-6 is yet to be tested against a hypersonic target. In 2016, the Navy tested a modified SM-6 against a conventional ballistic missile, intercepting it in the terminal phase. In 2016 and again in 2017, the Missile Defence Agency tested the weapon against two more medium-range ballistic targets, with both tests deemed successful.

In April 2021, the US military was forced to delay the testing of an SM-6 off Kauai Island in Hawaii due to the presence of the Russian Kareliya intelligence ship nearby. The rescheduled test later ended in failure, with only one of two simulated ballistic missile targets successfully intercepted. The military provided no explanation as to why this occurred.

No country has demonstrated publicly the capability to defend against hypersonic missiles.
However, Russia’s Aerospace Forces promise that the S-500 Prometheus missile defence system will be able to intercept and destroy a range of hypersonic targets. The system began to enter into service with the Russian military in September 2021, with about 30 units estimated to have been delivered to date.

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9 COMMENTS

  1. As I reported yesterday evening with all the local citizens hearing the constant booms of jet engines up and down Cape Sparrow (Capo Passero) at the extreme southeastern tip of Sicily, the local press is saying today that the commotion was part of the ongoing NATO “War Games” which yesterday involved aeronaval assets from both Italy and France, mainly the aircraft carriers Cavour and Charles DeGualle in the Ionian/Tyrrhenian sea area. I can even provide the link with a local online article if Gordon and the VT editors would be so kind to allow its publication.

    https://www.pachinonews.it/prove-di-guerra-sui-cieli-della-provincia-di-pachino-e-portopalo-caccia-a-bassa-quota-per-tutta-la-giornata/

  2. Breaking breaking breaking Intel report. There’s some highly unusual military aircraft activity occuring around the extreme Souteastern tip of Sicily overlooking the Straights of Sicily. Planes, Eurofighter Typhoons maybe from the Italian 37° fighter-interceptor Wing in Trapani Sicily have been flying up and down the peninsula which overlooks the Mediterranean on 2 sides. Bear in mind this is a restricted military airspace area, so something is up. People are out on the streets and on their balconies. The fly overs lasted for over 20 minutes, at least.

  3. This all started with rocks, slings and spears. Now if defense contractors want a pay day, they just jump up and down for a few minutes about the new weapon some neighbor has. preferably one that we piss off.
    Missiles are not at all what we need, and we already have things making them obsolete. This reads like a commercial selling cassette tapes after CD’s came out.
    We no longer need an army, air force or even navy. We have lasers and computers. Cut the military budget by 80% , because the progressives can recruit the Trumpers easier than imagined. No More War.

  4. This is like the US politicians and Generals, they believe in their own propaganda. They have a old missile system that they are going to us to defend from a new missile system coming at them. They are working on a Hyper missile but so far a no show. They say their SM-6 will do the trick but never tested if it could. Now Russia has a Hyper Missile and a Anti-Hyper Missile System the S-500 because they can test to see if it works. When the US finally gets a working missile they will find that they have to rework what they have which doesn’t have the range of the S500 or start from scratch to build a new system which will add years or even a decade or two to over come the problem to only find newer stuff is still coming down the line!

  5. The Sitting Bull Bronze Arrow is the US defense department’s most effective counter attack to a hypersonic missle. 😂

  6. Just so our fellow VT ers know, the U.S./ Austraila joint hypersonic project has so far had TWO and perhaps Three, unsuccessfull test flight of its (joint project) Hypetsonic missile. In the first test fight test. the missile was not able to be detached from its host B-52

    In the second test, the missile detached, but it’s engine failed to be started, so it never really flew, and it probably crashed, becaue, no mention of landing was made.

    Does this mean America is a sitting duck for an attack on hypers with. thermos..???
    1 thing is sure, this may not be the time for tough talk, but the time of concessions to the security

    • Adrian there aren’t that many Kangaroos bouncing around, fair number of them where in the biggest warship that went on a charity mission to Tonga which China crippled using EMP.

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