Is the U.S. losing the hypersonic missile race?

Proponents say these new weapons are a game changer on the battlefield

A missile.
(Image credit: Illustrated | iStock)

The Air Force announced this week that it has successfully tested a hypersonic weapon built by Lockheed Martin — a development that comes after several years of American fretting that rival countries like Russia and China have a head start on building the advanced missiles. This wasn't the first hypersonic test by the United States: Officials announced last month that a different system was tested in mid-March.

"In recent months, top Pentagon officials have been pushing to speed up development of the fast-flying weapons," Marcus Weisgerber reports at Defense One. "Former government and industry officials say old U.S. testing ranges and infrastructure are slowing development." Why are hypersonic weapons a burning issue for defense officials, and how will they change the future of armed conflict?

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