Defense

How hypersonic weapons sparked a new arms race between Russia, China and the US

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How hypersonic weapons created a new arms race

WASHINGTON — In March 2018, Russian President Vladimir Putin touted his nation's budding arsenal by unveiling a slew of new hypersonic weapons.

Of the six new weapons Putin unveiled, CNBC learned that two of them, a hypersonic glide vehicle and an air-launched cruise missile, will be ready for war by 2020.

What's more, China announced in 2018 that it had conducted the first successful testing of a hypersonic aircraft, a feat the United States has yet to accomplish.

The paces made by Russia and China have triggered a three-way arms race in developing this new breed of weapon.

The U.S. does not have a defense against hypersonic weapons, which can travel at least five times the speed of sound, or a little more than a mile per second. Combined with blistering speed, maneuverability and long-range flight, these weapons are difficult to track, target and defeat.

Watch the video above to learn more about the hypersonic arms race and what that means for the defense industry.