Russia and US in hypersonic weapons race
The superpower rivalry, sparked by the Cold War between the US and Russia, continues to this day. If that’s in stealth fighter jets or hypersonic weapons, there’s a race between both countries to field these weapons. Russia appears to be ahead in hypersonic weapon development as the US has yet to field these weapons. Still, the US is ahead of Russia when it comes to fielding stealth jets.
The ultimate fighter jet is a fifth-generation fighter with a weapon bay that can carry hypersonic missiles. Both the US’ Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II and Russia’s Sukhoi Su-57 weapon bays are too small to carry hypersonic missiles.
However, Russian defense industry sources told Sputnik News that the Su-57 is undergoing tests on its ability to carry hypersonic weapons internally.
“Russian media reported earlier this week that a realistic mockup of a new “intra-fuselage hypersonic missile” was being carried by an Su-57 for test flights. The details of the weapon are vague; however, it is likely the same weapon reported to have been developed in February 2020,” Sputnik said.
At the moment, Russia’s Mikoyan MiG-31 carries the Kh-47M2 Kinzhal, an air-launched hypersonic missile that can travel at Mach 10, on its belly. The Tupolev Tu-160 supersonic bombers can also carry the Kinzhal.
With the Kinzhal measuring 26 feet long, and the Su-57’s 14-foot-long internal weapons bay, Russia has embarked on a task to make the world’s smallest hypersonic missile.
SU-57’s Weapons Bay
“No extant hypersonic weapon has been so small, as all have been the size of large cruise missiles or air-launched ballistic missiles,” Sputnik said, adding that “such a weapon might be powered by an air-breathing scramjet, a type of advanced rocket engine used to attain ultra-fast speeds, such as that currently being developed by India.”
Ever since the Soviet Sputnik satellite entered orbit in 1957, both countries have been on a militarization path to gain an edge over one another.
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