Lockheed Martin Officials Discuss Hypersonic Challenges Following U.S. Missile Delay

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Other reports in Politico and elsewhere citing U.S. Defense officials claimed Russia had been forced to launch the advanced hypersonic missiles because the military had already begun to deplete its conventional missile stockpile after hurling an estimated 10,000 or more into Ukraine after just one month. U.S. DoD Secretary Lloyd Austin entertained that theory on Face the Nation last month. These claims, once again, are difficult to confidently confirm.

Russia’s alleged advancements in hypersonics has, unsurprisingly, captured the attention of an assortment of U.S. lawmakers on both sides of the political aisle who claim the U.S. might be losing its military leg-up on Russia. At the same, U.S. Military spending in 2020 (clocking in at around $1.9 trillion according to World Bank data) makes Russia’s $62 billion look like pocket change. The Biden Administration also just proposed a $813 billion 2022 Defense budget, the priciest in the nation’s history and a 4% increase from last year.

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Regardless Jay Pitman, Lockheed’s vice president for strike weapons, told Bloomberg he, “understands the urgent need for hypersonic capabilities,” and that to meet that need, they’re working to develop ARRW “at a highly accelerated pace.”

Back at Skunk Works, Carty tried to strike a confident tone, and said potential missteps notwithstanding, he still saw a light at the end of tunnel for hypersonic development.

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“The progress we’ve seen here [on a variety of hypersonics] just in this recent chapter is one of the biggest steps we’ve seen in making true on that dream of a practical realization of hypersonics.”