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Hypersonic Weapons: The new age weapon system Debalina Ghoshal

Speed has become a crucial factor in ensuring both conventional as well as nuclear deterrence. Today with sophistication in missile defence systems, ballistic and cruise missiles need to be high speed weapon systems to be able to evade enemy missile defence systems and deliver warheads at the target accurately. High speed weapon systems can render missile defence system useless and it is usually difficult to intercept supersonic and hypersonic cruise missile technology.

Missile defence systems have only increased the arms race with states developing more sophisticated weapon systems that can render the missile defence system null and void. While ballistic missile defence (BMD) has become a deterrent against ballistic missiles, states have also started to develop hypersonic technology vehicles that can be mounted atop ballistic missiles to negate the deterrent capability of the BMDs.

Hypersonic weapons can become strategically destabilising if states start to develop the same. This is more so true in case the weapon system is fitted with nuclear warheads as is the case with China and Russia.

While the ideal solution is to ban the weapon systems, such a solution is only utopian in nature. Hence, states should not nuclearize their hypersonic weapon systems if they are to maintain strategic stability.



Debalina Ghoshal

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