Photographer: Rich Clement/Bloomberg

Defense Research Chief Sees Hypersonic Defenses, Weapons Soon

July 12, 2018Tony Capaccio
(Bloomberg) — 
“These are capabilities you’ll see maturing through the 2020s” as the U.S. will accelerate testing, Defense Dept Undersecretary for Research and Engineering Michael Griffin tells reporters.

  • “We’re going to be stepping up our testing pace” from the roughly six done in the last 10 years, Griffin says
  • Griffin says he’s not sure how close China, Russia are to fielding non-nuclear, operational, tactical hypersonic weapons that will endanger U.S. combat forces
  • U.S. has been leader in hypersonic research but never pursued weapons, Griffin says
  • Space-based hypersonic defense is not “a practical approach” outside of launch detection, Griffin says
  • Griffin sees expanded role for his office assessing what critical defense technologies may be at risk as part of U.S. Interagency Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States
    • “We’re very concerned as a department about the amount of foreign – and very specifically Chinese investment – in our high-tech firms”
  • Griffin says he’s also focused on increased directed energy research, offensive and defensive cyber and continued development of “trusted micro-electronics” suppliers
  • NOTE: U.S. Missile Defense Agency is the Pentagon’s point agency on hypersonic defense research
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