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US to develop 1,100-mile range ‘Supergun’ and hypersonic missiles to counter advanced Russian, Chinese weapons

Washington – The US defence forces, which demanded a provision of $718 billion for defence expenditure after taking cognisance of the increasing aggression of Russia and China, have indicated focusing on the development of a supergun with a range of more than 1,100 miles as also hypersonic missiles. Also, the US officials and analysts claimed that Russia and China had developed advanced weapon systems which could penetrate the US defence systems. Taking the circumstances into consideration, the United States seems to have taken the aggressive initiative to boost the development of the Supergun and Hypersonic missiles to counter both the countries.

A few days ago, Acting US Secretary of Defence Patrick Shanahan presented a demand of $718 billion for the defence expenditure before the US Congress. In comparison to 2019, it marks a 5% increase in spending with a mention of the arms race with Russia and China. ‘The capabilities Russia and China have acquired have restricted the movements of the US military, Defence Chief General Dunford said.

Given the background, the US military has drawn out a unique plan to penetrate the Russian and Chinese defences which include the development of the supergun and hypersonic missiles. The Department of Defence has made the provision of $1.18 billion for the development of the surface launched hypersonic missiles and $30.5 million for the supergun. A four-year target has been set for completing the development of the two weapon systems.

Out of them, the ‘Strategic Long Range Cannon’ also known as the Supergun is the most significant. Currently, the US Army and Navy’s existing guns have a range of 18 to 23 miles. However, the US officials claim that the supergun would have a range 60 times more powerful than the conventional weapon giving it the ability to fire a missile over a distance of 1,100 miles.

The supergun could be used in the future for executing the operations of the US fighter jets, the sources indicated. Considering the advanced Russian and Chinese air defence systems, the Pentagon expresses the use of the supergun likely proving more effective than the fighter jets.

The Pentagon’s demand states increasing the use of rockets along with boosting the development of the supergun as well as the hypersonic missiles. Although the US Air Force and US Navy have completed the first phase of the hypersonic missile development, the Army is yet to acquire such capability. Nevertheless, Mike Griffin, a senior US Defence official, stated that the Army would stress on the development of such systems in the next four years. Furthermore, the weapons were essential to neutralise advanced Russian and Chinese missiles, Griffin stated.

The US Department of Defence has substantially increased the number of rockets in this year’s defence expenditure. Additionally, the United States would be purchasing more than 10,000 surface-to-surface missiles in the year 2020 which is a 26% increase as compared to the demand last year. Hence, a request of $1 billion was put forth and is an essential factor for increasing the firepower of the US Army.

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