It seems that the issue of Real RMA has got to Pentagon big time. Washington Examiner published today reflections of Pentagon's Assistant Director for Hypersonic Weapons Mike White on why the United States finds itself today where it finds itself in this never-ending competition for military supremacy. White doesn't mince words and goes for the jugular from the start:
“In past decades, we've been world leaders in hypersonics technology, but we have consistently made the decision to not transition that to weapon applications and build weapons systems out of hypersonic technologies that we were working on in the laboratory,” he said. But the Russians and Chinese have.
There is something inherently false in most statements by US officials whenever they try to express themselves on the issue of the actual history. Especially the one which is so recent. While the article states (correctly):
Russia started hypersonic research around the same time as the U.S. in the late 1940s, building on a Cold War Soviet Union legacy.
It forgets to mention, of course, this crucial historic fact: by 1960s USSR/Russia crossed into the high-supersonic territory with a mind-boggling array of anti-shipping missiles which changed the balance of power in the world ocean. Those also provided a gigantic array of data required for further progress along the path to a genuine hyper-sonic capabilities. The United States, indeed, decided (wrongly) that it can maintain its perceived military dominance by a combat aircraft fitted into the rigid and obsolete doctrinal framework of Duhe's views on the role of combat aviation. Aviator "Union" in the US Navy sabotaged altogether any attempts to develop supersonic long-range anti-shipping missile. One attempt, however, was made but was abandoned for a variety of technical and financial reasons with missile turning out to be a very unreliable and extremely expensive weapon. White's explanation, however, is down right risible:
In response to a Washington Examiner question about why the U.S. waited to invest in hypersonic weapons when it knew Russia was making the transition to the weapons, White said that “the world has become a place where our great power competitors have watched us over the last several decades.” Noting U.S. dominance in space, land, and sea, he said, “It's really driven by the build-up of our great power competitors and their attempts to challenge our domain dominance."
This "explanation" sheds a light on the increasingly delusional, and filled with pain, world Pentagon resides in since everything White states here is put exactly upside down.
1. The United States hasn't been a competitor in super-sonic, not to speak of genuine hyper-sonic, weapons since 1970s. It is also true in terms of Air Defense and ABM systems from whose missiles (SM-6) the United States tried to construct some sort of a hyper-sonic weapon. USSR/Russia pursued this capability relentlessly and if not for Gorbachev selling his country out would have had this capability not in 2010s but, likely, by 2000s.
2. I have no idea where did White find US "dominance on land" but the actual track record suggests otherwise, not to mention the fact that last time the United States encountered what could be broadly defined as land power peer was in Korea, where Chinese troops turned out to be a rather potent competitor.
But White gets one thing right, when defines what those weapons are as envisioned in the US:
“It's not going to be one or two hypersonic weapons,” Lewis said. “It's a range of capabilities. It's intermediate range. It's long-range. It's things coming off of ships. It's things coming off of trucks. It's things coming off of wings of airplanes and out of bomb bays. It's a full range of capabilities.” But, the experts admitted, the “things” won’t be ready until the mid-2020s.
Right, and that is the whole point. They won't be ready, and most likely, beyond the mid-2020s, by which time Russia (I am not sure about China 100%) would be moving onto the second generation of these weapons, granted that the bulk of those are already deployed in combat role, from Avangard to Kinzhal and now Zircon. For failing to react and adapt to an unfolding Revolution in Military Affairs when failing to lead it, the United States has only itself to blame, including learning all the wrong lessons from wars it fought and most of which it lost.