China, India and Russia have advantages on hypersonic says US Senator

PTI, Mar 24, 2022, 8:49 AM IST

The US is no longer dominating several advanced technologies, an influential American Senator has observed here, saying that China, India and Russia have advantages on hypersonic.

”We’re in a situation where we have technological improvements. We used to dominate technology. That’s no longer the case. Hypersonic, clearly, China and India, Russia have advantages on it,” Senator Jack Reed, Chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee said during a nomination hearing on Wednesday.

“We are about to emerge for the first time in the history of the world in a trilateral nuclear competition. No longer bilateral. The Soviet Union, the United States — no, it’s China, Russia, and the United States,” Reed said and asked Dr William LaPlante, to be undersecretary of defence for acquisition and sustainment, how he intends to address these issues.

LaPlante said he hopes to begin immediately to accelerate getting into the mainstream weapons systems.

“These new technologies that you talked about. We do have a lot of initiatives over the last several years, thanks to this committee, using your authority to rapidly contract and to do prototypes. I think that’s very good,” he said.

“We got to get those capabilities rapidly into the weapons systems, and sometimes, bridge what they call the valley of death. So, I pledge to work with the programme officers to make it their job to do continuous upgrades of technology so we can get back into this race that you talked about,” he added.

He said the mission of delivering and sustaining timely, cost-effective, and uncompromised capabilities for the armed forces and the DOD has never been more important than it is today.

“China, our pacing threat; an increasingly authoritarian Russia focused on regional hegemony; malign actors; and other existential threats pose grave risks to the global order and threaten our way of life,” LaPlante said in his opening remarks.

Responding to another question, he said a failed test is one where one doesn’t learn.

“One has to continue to do testing to your point. We tested in 2010, 2011 a combined DARPA, Air Force experiment to fly in a hypersonic glide vehicle from Vandenberg Air Force Base to Kwajalein. The two tests, they both failed, and the United States stopped hypersonic glide vehicle work,” he said.

“China and Russia just kept going. And so you have to test, you have to learn from the tests and just keep going,” LaPlante said in response to Senator Angus King.

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