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Development of Hypersonic Technology is Creating Opportunities for Defense Companies to Accelerate Missile Evolution
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This insight is designed to offer readers information concerning the development of hypersonic missiles, a market that is still in its nascent stage. Hypersonic missile technology is currently being developed primarily by China, Russia, the United States, and India. Several other nations are also designing to develop hypersonic technology and, in some cases, partnering with one of the primary nations mentioned. In order for a missile to be classified as “hypersonic”, it must be capable of traveling at speeds greater than Mach 5, or five times faster than the speed of sound (or 1–5 miles per second). Within this effort, the focus is on two main categories of hypersonic missiles currently being developed: • Hypersonic Cruise Missile (HCM), which is driven by rocket power or through the use of jet engines developed to reach hypersonic speed • Hypersonic Glide Vehicle (HGV) that is launched with a rocket into the upper atmosphere, where it is released and glides accelerating to an intended target. Once fully developed, these missiles will provide the possessor a considerable edge over adversaries. Speed, which is the key capability of hypersonic missiles, would decrease an opposing force’s reaction time to successfully defend itself again such an attack. Government entities from the countries cited above are accelerating efforts to become the first to reach full operational capability. All current spending is dedicated to research and development at this stage of the hypersonic technology market. Moreover, given the nature of the subject of research, much of the existing market is not addressable at this time due to the countries involved. Therefore, the only credible numbers based on actual documentation are provided by US efforts for this particular market. All yearly references to forecasts and market share within this insight are based on fiscal years. Market share for this effort is based on government contracts awarded during fiscal year 2017. However, it is assumed that some contract data is not publicly available due to the sensitivity of the work being performed.
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