Australia announced the start of testing hypersonic missiles that can exceed five times the speed of sound within months, as part of a new agreement with the United States to develop prototypes of next-generation weapons.
This rapid development in air-launched hypersonic missiles emerged in the wake of the defense experts informing the government. In the regional arms race China and Russia indulged in, potential threats are on the rise day by day, and that no more time should be wasted
Defense Secretary Linda Reynolds said they were committed to “keeping Australians safe, protecting the country’s interests in a rapidly changing global environment.”
The government said it would continue to invest in advanced capabilities to offer more options to deter aggression against Australia’s interests, including $9.3 billion allocated in the force structure plan for high-speed long-range missile defense.
New deal with USA SCIFiRE
The product of the Southern Cross Integrated Flight Research Experiment project is the product of 15 years of work and collaboration between the two countries on hypersonic scramjets, rocket motors, sensors and advanced production materials.
The SCIFiRE project will replace previous work from the Hypersonic International Flight Research Experiments (HIFiRE) program, another joint development effort between Washington and Canberra that started in 2006. HIFIRE was a collaboration between NASA, the US Air Force Research Laboratory and Australia’s Defense Science and Technology Organization to develop know-how, especially the scramjet engine.
Nothing has been stated regarding when the missiles could become operational, but the Australian government will begin negotiations with Australian industry to use a range of technologies that can enable the production of hypersonic missiles to pass from the testing phase to the Air Force’s use.
Hypersonic missiles fly several times faster than the speed of sound, leaving little time for an interception for target countries.
According to experts, the hypersonic missiles will be transported by the army’s current aircraft, including the Growlers, Super Hornet and Poseidon reconnaissance aircraft. Missiles can also be integrated to unmanned aerial vehicles such as Loyal Wingman.