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Conventional Prompt Global Strike and Long-Range Ballistic Missiles: Background and Issues

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Technical Report

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Congressional Research Service WASHINGTON DC United States

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Members of Congress and Pentagon officials have placed a growing emphasis on U.S. programs to develop hypersonic weapons as a part of an effort to acquire the capability for the United States to launch attacks against targets around the world in under an hour. Hypersonic weapons, like all long-range ballistic missiles, can travel faster than Mach 5, or about 1 mile to 5 miles per second. This interest is driven by both the perceived mission need for conventional prompt strike systems and concerns about falling behind Russia and China in the development of these technologies. The United States is pursuing two key technologies for this purpose boost-glide systems that place a hypersonic glider atop a ballistic missile booster or shorter-range rocket systems, and hypersonic cruise missiles that would use scramjet technologies.

Subject Categories:

  • Guided Missiles
  • Military Operations, Strategy and Tactics

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