One of the issues that entered our lives with the start of the Russia-Ukraine war was hypersonic missiles. Russia claimed that they used hypersonic missiles in western Ukraine at the very beginning of the war, and the USA claimed that Russia used this missile many times. Although its characteristics were not disclosed, it was known that Russia had such missiles. While the USA continues to work on hypersonic missiles, an important announcement has been made about these missiles.
The Pentagon, the U.S. Department of Defense, recently announced a $1 billion deal with the U.S. arms firm Raytheon to manufacture a new hypersonic weapon for the U.S. Air Force. Raytheon is expected to complete development of the weapon system by March 2027.
SPEED 5 TIMES THE SOUND WITH SCRAMJET ENGINES: GOING 1.7 KM/Sec
Frank Gardner, a BBC reporter and security expert, said of hypersonic missiles: “As the name suggests, they move at an enormous speed, reaching speeds of up to 5 mach (5 times the speed of sound, or 6,125 km/h) or higher. This is the speed of the second. “It’s equivalent to a speed of about 1.7 kilometers,” he says. Stating that the missiles can carry a conventional explosive or nuclear weapon head, Gardner also states that the missiles in question can be launched from the air, from the sea or from the land.
These missiles use a ‘scramjet’ engine, which compresses the air it receives and combines it with fuel, thus providing 5 mach or more thrust. That’s why scramjet-powered missiles are called “air-breathing propelled cruise missiles.” Thanks to their engines, this type of cruise missile also has the ability to maneuver in the air, unlike standard ballistic missiles.
(The Kh-47M2 Kinzhal missile, which Russia claims to be hypersonic, was displayed for the first time in 2020)
The hypersonic air-breathing cruise missile (HACM), developed by Raytheon in collaboration with the Pentagon’s Advanced Defense Research Projects Agency, will use scramjet engines to reach five times the speed of sound. Raytheon’s HAMC missile was first tested in September 2021. It is stated that this missile, whose second test was carried out in August, exceeded 5 mach speed in the test.
U.S. Air Force officials stated that the new hypersonic cruise missile could be used in both fighter jets and bombers, according to a report by the Congressional Research Service.
ARRW air missiles, another hypersonic missile developed by the USA and manufactured by Lockheed Martin, also have a scramjet engine. It is stated that these missiles, which are claimed to have an operational range of 1600 kilometers, accelerated to over 5 mach in tests. The first of these missiles, which is still in the testing phase, is planned to be included in the US Air Force inventory in 2023.
IT WILL TURN THE BALANCES UP: TURKEY TAKES ACTION
According to the news compiled by Haber Global, not only the USA but also other countries are working on hypersonic missiles with scramjet engines. US intelligence suggests that China has invested heavily in hypersonic weapons. According to US sources, China’s intercontinental hypersonic missile test last year, the missile that went into low earth orbit made a circuit around the planet. However, no details about the missile and this test are available.
Russia, on the other hand, argues that the air-launched Kinzhal missile, which it introduced in recent years, is a hypersonic missile. However, in an article published on the US-based Insider site, it is claimed that the missile in question is an old technology ballistic missile that can reach high speeds. Russia also published test images of the Zircon anti-ship missile, which it claims to be hypersonic, last year. Apart from China, Russia and the USA, countries such as France, Germany and Australia are also conducting hypersonic missile studies.
It is planned to build such hypersonic missiles and the engines that will provide them with propulsion power in Turkey.
Gürcan Okumuş, Director of TÜBİTAK-SAGE Institute, said in a statement that the studies on ramjet engines, a sub-level of scramjet engines, will reach results this year. Okumuş states that conceptual studies for scramjet engines are also continuing.