The Pentagon plans a “very aggressive” expansion of its hypersonic weapons efforts this year, with at least four initial flight tests of prototypes for glide bombs that can fly five times the speed of sound and maneuver en route, officials said.
A new Hypersonics Transition Office that Congress funded this year will also bankroll a university consortium to conduct advanced research into the weapons and develop a workforce for the new technology, the officials said.
Defense Secretary Mark Esper said on Friday that the next Pentagon budget proposal will increase funding beyond the $5 billion provided in this year’s five-year budget plan for the technology that he called a key part of the “great-power competition” with China.
“We have significantly ramped up flight testing and other experimentation so that we can accelerate the delivery of this capability -- in all its forms -- to our warfighters years earlier than previously planned,” Esper said. (end of excerpt)
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