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The Pentagon will ramp up research on hypersonic weapons with a stunning 136 percent increase in the 2019 budget request. Here’s the breakdown of the $257 million:
$139.4 million, the lion’s share, goes to the Air Force-DARPA collaboration on rocket-propelled hypersonics, Tactical Boost Glide (TBG), which will produce an “operational prototype” by 2023;
$14.3 million goes to Air-Force work on jet-propelled hypersonics, the Hypersonic Air-breathing Weapon Concept (HAWC), which DARPA is hoping the Navy will join.
$50 million goes to a new joint venture with the Army called Operational Fires (OPFIRES), part of the Army’s new emphasis on long-range artillery and missiles; and
$53 million goes to the Advanced Full Range Engine (AFRE) for future hypersonic vehicles.
DARPA wanted more money, director Steven Walker said bluntly, particularly to build up an R&D infrastructure currently half the size of China’s. But, he said, this budget is “a good first step.”
Walker ranged widely over DARPA’s portfolio in his breakfast with the Defense Writers’ Group, from artificial intelligence, where he denied the US is falling behind China, to DNA mapping, where he admits China is ahead; to his recent visit to Ukraine, where DARPA is working on some information warfare projects, he said.
originally posted by: Zaphod58
a reply to: BlueJacket
Hypersonics are really complicated. No one has a particular lead in reusable hypersonics right now. That's the stumbling block, reusable. We're way behind on one time use technologies. India has a hypersonic antiship missile close to ready. Granted, they based it off work with Russia, but still. It will even be capable of being fired from aircraft.
China currently has the DF-21 missile that can be used as an antiship missile, or carry a boost glide weapon.
Now where the field is leveled is when you start talking about aircraft and reusable systems. In that area, you're right, we're not that far behind, simply because no one has been able to figure out the materials, or how to get an engine to work at subsonic speeds.