The Army and Navy Are Teaming Up to Build America’s Hypersonic Arsenal

The Army and Navy Are Teaming Up to Build America’s Hypersonic Arsenal

Interestingly, the Army’s hypersonic program involves a collaborative effort with the Navy to develop a Common Hypersonic Glide Body.


As hypersonic weapons now fire into the sky at unprecedented speeds, the promise of hypersonic capabilities has inspired optimism among senior Army weapons developers.

Army weapons developers, the Army Research Laboratory, and numerous industry partners are working on near and long-term innovations related to hypersonic weapons. The near-term effort relates to the Long-Range Hypersonic Weapon (LRHW), a cutting-edge weapon slated to arrive and become operational as soon as next year.


“Right now, we are cautiously optimistic. There are a lot of new technologies. So sometimes you do run into bumps in the road, but I think the team can handle the bumps. And we have strong support from both inside the Army and across the department for this kind of capability. Because I think there's a clear recognition that it's needed. I'm hoping the Army gets there as planned next year,” Douglas Bush, assistant secretary of the Army for acquisition, logistics, and technology, told the National Interest in an interview.

Interestingly, the Army’s LRHW program involves a collaborative effort with the Navy to develop and utilize a Common Hypersonic Glide Body (CHGB), which will be adapted for specific, yet different weapons systems for the Army and the Navy.

“Our all-up round [CHGB] is a thirty-four-inch booster which will be common between the Army and the Navy. We will shoot exactly the same thing the Navy shoots out of a sub or ship,” Robert Strider, deputy director of the Army Hypersonic Project Office, told an audience last year at the Space and Missile Defense Symposium.

The glide body is a warhead that gets thrust into the atmosphere at hypersonic speeds—five or more times the speed of sound. Once airborne, the weapon can skip along the upper boundaries of the earth’s atmosphere before relying upon the sheer speed of its descent onto a target. Destruction of a target can be accomplished through the sheer force and speed of impact.

“It's really a joint program, we're really working very closely with our Navy partners on that, so that's another example. It's not called a joint program, but it really is with the Navy … I think it's a really good success story so far,” Bush said.

Kris Osborn is the Defense Editor for the National Interest. Osborn previously served at the Pentagon as a Highly Qualified Expert with the Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Army—Acquisition, Logistics & Technology. Osborn has also worked as an anchor and on-air military specialist at national TV networks. He has appeared as a guest military expert on Fox News, MSNBC, The Military Channel, and The History Channel. He also has a Master's Degree in Comparative Literature from Columbia University.

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