Andrei Raevsky forwarded me this article today.
Any surprise to anyone? Not really. The piece discusses hypersonic technology development in the US and we all know the story, so to speak, in general. But in the middle of this article is hidden the most important point. There is no doubt that the US will eventually develop and procure some sort of a glider. But...
“I think there’s room for both” boost-glide and air-breathing hypersonic cruise missiles “in our inventory,” Kendall asserted. However, air-delivered hypersonic weapons are at a disadvantage, he said, because “the idea of getting there fast is sort of countered by the fact that you have to fly the airplane there before you launch the missile. So you lose some of that advantage” versus forward-based ground- or sea-launched missiles. He said he doesn’t begrudge the Army pursuing hypersonics for long-range strike because the Air Force is happy to have help in knocking out air defense systems and redundancy gives an enemy more dilemmas. But, “the specific applications are going to have to be based on cost effectiveness and a number of other factors.”
It is a revealing admission of what I am on record for years now--aseroballistic missiles are not the same as air-breathers, let alone such air-breathers as 3M22 Zircon which have a start from slow-moving ships and are full blown controllable anti-shipping (and land-attack) missiles designed to hit moving targets, namely ships. The US is nowhere near in developing such weapons.
Moreover, in an emerging conflict between Russia and the US neither characteristics of upcoming US gliders nor their numbers are enough to damage modern developed air-defense (such as Russia's), not to mention the fact that this AD is being configured to US perspective hypersonic weapons which will be limited in numbers due to traditionally astronomical costs of advanced US weapon systems. It is an interesting piece which also reflects on US defense industry issues. And no matter how many fanboys will be offended by this statement, US' losing arms race to Russia is driven in large part by Russia taking a decisive technological lead in air-defense and anti-missile technologies and, of course, in a monstrously advanced field of cruise and anti-shipping missiles, which changed the naval warfare forever.
As was already reported, Russia deployed 4 TU-22M3 to Syria.
Each of them is capable of carrying 3 X-32 Mach=4.3 missiles. Together with MiG-31Ks armed with hypersonic Kinzhal, this is precisely the salvo required to destroy any surface force, namely CBG. Most likely scenario being Kinzhals removing AEGIS-equipped escorts, with X-32s finishing off the rest of the formation. This is all fitting well with Russia's response being prepared in terms of "military-technical means" to West's failure to react properly to Russia's ultimatum and the number of threats, I think, sadly, to the US military assets and the US proper will grow now really dramatically once the Olympics are closed. I told ya, get a pop-corn and buckle up.