Hypersonic weapons are likely to change how the military operates, with enormous implications for world stability and peace.



Several nations are rapidly developing hypersonic ( faster than Mach 5) missiles. See  US-developed hypersonic missile. Note nuclear ballistic missiles can already reach Mach 20 on re-entering the earth’s atmosphere. See Intercontinental ballistic missiles. There are two types of hypersonic weapons:

Strategic: glide weapons that skip off the upper layers of the atmosphere one or more times.

Tactical: air-breathing hypersonic strike weapons that can travel 100 km in 30 seconds before dropping down to the target and are effective against ships and fixed targets.


Hypersonic weapons raise two crucial questions:

Regarding missiles, consider the balance between strike and defence and what this might mean for Australia.