UK Aims to Develop Hypersonic Missile by 2030 in Global Arms Race

Britain to develop hypersonic missile by 2030, investing £1B to catch up with China, Russia, and the US in this advanced weaponry race.

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Israel Ojoko
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UK Aims to Develop Hypersonic Missile by 2030 in Global Arms Race

UK Aims to Develop Hypersonic Missile by 2030 in Global Arms Race

Britain has announced plans to create a domestically designed and built hypersonic cruise missile capable of reaching speeds beyond Mach 5 by 2030. The UK Ministry of Defence has engaged up to 80 companies to come up with a design for the weapon, which is part of a broader effort to catch up with China, Russia, and the United States in hypersonic missile technology.

The project, managed directly by the Ministry of Defence headquarters in Whitehall, aims to have the missile enter service by the 2030 deadline. Developing the necessary materials and overcoming the extreme engineering challenges posed by hypersonic speeds are expected to be major obstacles in the missile's construction.

The UK government has pledged to boost defense spending by £75 billion over the next six years to support innovative projects like the hypersonic missile. Britain is prepared to invest up to £1 billion in the project through a defense consortium over the next seven years, although missiles could also be purchased from the US if needed sooner.

Why this matters: The global competition over hypersonic missiles has escalated in recent years, with Russia already using its Kinzhal hypersonic missile in attacks against Ukraine. As major powers compete to develop this advanced weaponry, questions arise over the cost-effectiveness and strategic necessity of hypersonic missiles compared to existing precision weapons.

The British hypersonic missile project is estimated to be worth £1 billion and span up to seven years. In addition to developing the advanced weapon itself, the initiative aims to facilitate collaboration between the Ministry of Defence, industry, and academia. The procurement will cover a broad range of services and supplies, including research, systems, components, technology, infrastructure, testing, and other related expertise and materials needed to make the 2030 target a reality.

Key Takeaways

  • UK plans to develop domestic hypersonic missile by 2030, investing up to £1B.
  • Missile to reach speeds beyond Mach 5, part of effort to catch up with China, Russia, US.
  • Project to face challenges in materials and engineering for hypersonic speeds.
  • UK to boost defense spending by £75B over 6 years to support innovative projects.
  • Global competition over hypersonic missiles raises questions on cost-effectiveness and necessity.