US and Russia claim to have run successful tests on hypersonic missiles

The US and Russia's battle for military supremacy sees the opposing sides in the Ukraine War developing hypersonic missiles capable of travelling several times the speed of sound.

The US military's Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) claims it has successfully been testing a Lockheed Martin hypersonic missile that can travel fives times the speed of sound.

This was apparently the second successful flight test of the vehicle which is called the Hypersonic Air-breathing Weapon Concept (HAWC).

Last September, a different vehicle configuration from another contractor team also reached hypersonic flight.

Meanwhile Russia is also said to be working on its own hypersonic missiles and claimed it tested one successfully last year.

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Hypersonic missiles can travel over five times the speed of sound with lots of other countries said to be working on the super fast and destructive military technology.

However, Putin has said his Zircon cruise missile will be capable of traveling at nine times the speed of sound over a range of 620 miles.

The hypersonic missile is intended to arm boats and submarines and could enter service before the end of this year.

The US hasn't revealed when its hypersonic missile could be put into real action but has highlighted the recent tests as a major milestone.

Andrew 'Tippy' Knoedler, DARPA's HAWC program manager for the tactical technology office, said : "We are still analysing flight test data, but are confident that we will provide the U.S. Air Force and Navy with excellent options to diversify the technology available for their future missions."

He explained: "This Lockheed Martin HAWC flight test successfully demonstrated a second design that will allow our warfighters to competitively select the right capabilities to dominate the battlefield.

"These achievements increase the level of technical maturity for transitioning HAWC to a service program of record."

According to DARPA air-breathing vehicles utilise air captured from the atmosphere to achieve sustained propulsion.

They say that the speed and manoeuvrability of hypersonic cruise missiles allow both evasion of defences and quick strikes, and that the kinetic energy can effectively destroy targets even without high explosives.

The weapon tested reportedly reached altitudes over 65,000 feet and flew for more than 300 nautical miles.

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