Lockheed Martin, a U.S. based aerospace, defense, and advanced tech firm, has received a Dollars 928 million contract from the U.S. Air Force for manufacturing hypersonic arms to accurately target enemy locations.
Hypersonic vehicles travel at least five times the speed of sound, putting forward bases and carrier battle groups at risk, since they wouldn't be able to detect an incoming hypersonic missile until it was about to make impact.
By flying at speeds of more than Mach 5 (6,175 kms/h), missiles would be far harder to engage and destroy because current defences are created to combat slower supersonic weapons.
In this photo made from the footage taken from Russian Defense Ministry official web site on Sunday, March 11, 2018, a MiG-31 fighter jet of the Russian air force launches the new Kinzhal hypersonic missile during a test in southern Russia.
The X-51A Waverider hypersonic prototype. Similar technology will be used to build the new hypersonic missile ordered by the Pentagon.
The $928 million contract will cover the "design, development, engineering, systems integration, test, logistics planning, and aircraft integration support of all the elements of a hypersonic, conventional, air-launched, stand-off weapon", according to information released by the Air Force.
American officials have also expressed concern that China was building missiles that could outrace or outfox its existing defence and interceptor systems.
Last month a top United States general admitted the superpower is virtually defenceless against the futuristic nuclear weapons being built by Russian Federation and China. It has been speculated that Lockheed is trying to build SR-72, a hypersonic unmanned jet, which is likely to fly at the speed of almost Mach 6 and is forecast to be launched in 2030.
Last month, John Hyten, Commander of the U.S. Strategic Command, stated that the country does not possess any such weapon to counter the use of hypersonic weapons.
In particular, China has pulled ahead in hypersonic technologies, and Griffin said that needs to change, quickly.
Michael Griffin, the Pentagon's research and development head, labeled it the Defense Department's "highest technical priority" at a defense industry conference last month, and sounded the alarm again Tuesday in a hearing before the House Armed Services Committee. Once we do see them, he said, "we will have very little time left to respond".
He told Congress that the USA needed to catch up in developing hypersonic technologies.