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US, UK, Australia Collaborate in Hypersonic Weapons as China and Russia Advance in Development

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A dangerous new arms race is emerging as China, Russia, and the United States all pursue hypersonic weapons.

The U.S. recently announced that it will work with the United Kingdom and Australia to develop not only the missiles but defensive measures as well. 

This comes as top military officials warn the world is growing more unstable and dangerous.

Back in September, Australia, the U.K., and the U.S. created a security alliance known as AUKUS.

The partnership is back in the spotlight after a recent announcement that the three countries will collaborate to develop hypersonic technology.

"You know, hypersonics are all the rage," said foreign policy expert Michael O'Hanlon. "There's about five or six technologies that are really quite promising but are also sort of the vogue sort of the new thing to talk about when you're trying to sound like you're on top of it with defense modernization priorities."

Russia and China are also racing to develop these lethal weapons.

Missiles that can reach altitudes of up to 300,000 feet and are nearly impossible to detect. China tested such a missile back in October and Russia claims to have used the weapons in Ukraine.

While the U.S. is part of the hypersonic race, performing its own tests, O'Hanlon says this tech shouldn't be considered a radical game-changer.

"We already have lots of missiles that can penetrate Chinese or Russian air defenses, I just think hpyersonics can do that a little more confidently," O'Hanlon explained. "So, if you need to get three missiles through a defense system, with existing weapons, you might have to send 10 with hypersonics ... maybe you just send four.

O'Hanlon noted the real danger isn't what a hypersonic weapon can do, rather it's the confidence this technology could give one of our enemies.

"It's about the perception as to whether they give some country a new advantage that they did not previously enjoy and therefore make that country more willing to take risks and maybe even take the gamble of initiating a war or being willing to risk a war against the United States because now it thinks it has a way to go after our Achilles heels." 

Whether or not hypersonic weapons become the next arms race, the past three administrations have all agreed: there's been a return to "great power competition" between the U.S., Russia, and China and it's leading to an increasingly dangerous world. 

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