Issue Brief on “Hypersonic Missiles: Racing to Win?”


The US, Russia and China have been embroiled in yet another race to develop hypersonic missiles. For Russia and China, the push to develop hypersonic missiles was the threat from the US deployment of missile defence systems. For the US it was Russian and Chinese development of hypersonic missiles. Thus, the cycle to develop better and more sophisticated hypersonic missiles continues. Others are also developing hypersonic technology including Australia, France, UK and the European Union. India is not remaining behind in this race. It tested the High-Speed Technology Demonstrator Vehicle (HSTDV) using an indigenously developed propulsion system on September 7, 2020. Both Russia and the US have recently flight-tested their hypersonic systems. The hypersonic missile race is well on its way. It is important to look at what the technology is? What are the drivers of hypersonic development globally? How far has the hypersonic race gone and what are their dynamics for nuclear deterrence and strategic stability?

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