The United States has made assurances that its new hypersonic missile will only carry conventional warheads. But critics aren’t convinced the Pentagon can resist a nuclear temptation.
In an attempt to keep up with Russia and China, the US is developing its own range of hypersonic aircraft and missiles that can travel at speeds between Mach 5 and Mach 19. The Pentagon’s Defense Advanced Projects Research Agency (DARPA) has spent over $34 million on multiple hypersonic projects. Defense officials maintain that the technology is being pursued primarily in the interest of developing a reusable hypersonic jet.
While Pentagon officials insist that nuclear warheads are not a consideration for any hypersonic aircraft, anything traveling at such high speeds inherently threatens to destabilize global security.