Inside US Navy’s plan for ‘global strike’ destroyers packed with 36 hypersonic missiles after Putin’s apocalypse threat | The Sun

DOZENS of "unstoppable" hypersonic missiles fired from destroyers will be ready to strike anywhere in the world at up to 13,000mph under plans drawn up the the US Navy.

Its most advanced warships are due to be upgraded to carry new "boost-glide" weapons so fast they cannot be shot down.

Details of the plans emerged as the Pentagon races to catch up with advances in hypersonic missile technology in Russia and China.

Vladimir Putin is said to be planning a new test of his world-ending Satan-2 ICBM nuke, and claims a range of smaller hypersonic weapons are already deployed.

In response the US Army and US Navy have been jointly developing a futuristic craft designed to skim the atmosphere at incredible speed.

Dubbed the Common Hypersonic Glide Body (C-HGB), it is reportedly designed to manoeuvre at over Mach 5 – and possibly up to Mach 17 – changing course and altitude to evade defences.

It would then scream down on a target at more than three miles a second, striking with a precision of less than six inches.

The warhead is likely to be packed with conventional explosives, although the sheer speed alone would have a devastating impact.

The glide body is unpowered and has to be launched into the high atmosphere in the nose cone of a booster rocket.

The US Army plans to fire its missile from land-based mobile launchers, with a reported range of at least 1,725 miles. It could be in service as early as next year.

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However the US Navy is developing its own version designed to be launched from ships or even underwater from submarines.

The Conventional Prompt Strike hypersonic missile (CPS) was successfully test fired in March 2020, proving its viability as a launch platform, top brass say.

Now advanced plans are under way to fit the weapons system on the $4.4bn USS Zumwalt, reports Naval News.

The radar-dodging stealth ship – with its striking angular profile – would send a powerful warning message to any potential enemies, analysts say.

Zumwalt is due for a refit next year, and will reportedly get up to four 87-inch missile tubes in place of one or both of its 155mm forward guns.

Navy experts are said to have found up to three C-HGB warheads and their booster rockets can fit in each tube – making 12 in total.

Zumwalt's two sister ships USS Michael Monsoor and USS Lyndon B. Johnson could also get the same weapons.

Adding hypersonic capability follows 2017 decision to make the trio of destroyers "blue water combatants".

“Zumwalt gave us an opportunity to get [hypersonics] out faster and to be honest with you, I need a solid mission for Zumwalt,” Admiral Mike Gilday, Chief of Naval Operations, told USNI News.

Lethal weapon

Vice Admiral Johnny Wolfe, the head of the Navy’s strategic systems programs, said the weapon could be in service by 2025.

He said: "We got to get on with getting all of the design for the Zumwalt, getting all of those tubes in there, as we pulled out the forward gun mounts.

"We’ve got to put these large diameter tubes in there, and then finish the integration work into the combat system.”

Defence chiefsalso want the hypersonic missiles to be among the array of weapons on the Block V Virginia-class nuclear submarines, which are due to enter service later this decade.

It means they will be able to strike anywhere within range of the boats – which is virtually the whole planet.

Vice Admiral Wolfe added: “You need to have the same lethality no matter where you’re at. And that’s what this weapon does.

"It’s all the same with the lethality to get after all these targets.

"It just depends on who’s launching it, right, whether it’s the Army, from a [transporter erector launcher], or whether it’s a Zumwalt, or whether it’s a Virginia-class submarine,” 

Top brass insist there are no plans to arm C-HGB with a nuclear warhead.

However the Pentagon reportedly regards it as a "strategic" weapon and the project is overseen by Wolfe, who is also in charge of submarine-launched nukes.

Vice Admiral Wolfe told USNI: “It’s strategic, but it’s not nuclear.

"If you look at the numbers, particularly with what we’re going to with the ranges, it is very much a strategic asset.

"You can hold very high-value targets at risk … and you can do that with all these various platforms.”

Last month the US tested another hypersonic weapon at a Nasa base in Virginia.

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The launch of the sounding rocket – a prototype smaller than the real thing – was declared a success.

The US also moved forward the deployment of its most accurate B61 gravity nuclear bombs at Nato bases across Europe and Turkey.

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