全球高超声速武器项目加速 | International Hypersonic Strike Weapons Projects Accelerate

air-breathing missile
China is evaluating air-breathing options such as Lingyun-1, a scramjet test vehicle that was publicly exhibited for the first time in Beijing in 2018.
Credit: James Bosbotinis


There is growing international interest in the development of offensive hypersonic weapon systems, particularly following the deployment by Russia and China of nascent hypersonic strike capabilities. France, India, Japan and the UK all are seeking to develop a hypersonic strike capability too.

除了俄罗斯的先锋高超声速滑翔飞行器(HGV)、匕首Kinzhal)空射弹道导弹(ALBM)以及中国的DF-17 HGV以外,两国都在开发其他超声速武器系统。例如,俄罗斯正在研究锆石高超声速巡航导弹(HCM)和相关技术,而中国正在广泛研究技术基础和基础设施,以用于高超声速系统的开发和生产,这些高超声速系统据信可以用于军事、商业和航天应用等。

Beyond Russia’s Avangard hypersonic glide vehicle (HGV) and Kinzhal air-launched ballistic missile (ALBM), and China’s DF-17 HGV, both nations are developing additional hypersonic weapon systems. Russia, for example, is working on the Zircon hypersonic cruise missile (HCM) and related technologies, while China is developing an expansive technological base and infrastructure for the development and production of hypersonic systems for military, commercial and space applications.


Given the technical challenges and cost inherent in developing hypersonic weapons, particularly in areas such as propulsion, airframe design, guidance and thermal management, what roles will such weapons undertake? The speed, maneuverability and flight characteristics of hypersonic weapons makes them challenging to detect, track and intercept, reducing the warning time available and window for interception.


Hypersonic weapons thus provide advantages for the prosecution of time-critical targets, mobile or relocatable targets or in the face of adversary missile defense capabilities. Maritime strike is also a key projected role for hypersonic missiles under development or being deployed by Russia, China and Japan. In the conventional precision-strike role, hypersonic weapons will require a robust set of supporting intelligence, surveillance, target acquisition and reconnaissance capabilities, in particular for the prosecution of mobile/relocatable targets.

法国正在开发其第四代空射核导弹ASN4G,它将由超燃冲压发动机提供动力,并将于2030年代中期投入使用,以取代目前的ASMP-A。它还在开发HGV演示飞行器V-MaX Vehicule Manoeuvrant Experiment),该飞行器将于2021年底前首次飞行。印度同样在寻求两个高超声速武器项目,即布拉莫斯-2,由俄印联合开发,以及另一个HCM项目。 布拉莫斯-2旨在成为一款HCM,能够以5~7倍声速巡航。印度开发了一款由超燃冲压发动机驱动的超声速技术演示飞行器(HSTDV),以支持HCM类型飞行器的开发,但由于烈火”-1火箭(HSTDV的发射平台)的技术问题,试飞于20196月失败了。

France is developing its fourth-generation air-launched nuclear missile, the ASN4G, which will be scramjet-powered and is due to enter service in the mid-2030s, replacing the current ASMP-A. It is also developing an HGV demonstrator, the “Vehicule Manoeuvrant Experimental,” or V-MaX, which is due to make its first flight before the end of 2021. India is similarly pursuing two hypersonic weapon projects, the BrahMos-2, developed by the BrahMos joint venture between India and Russia, and another HCM project. The BrahMos-2 is intended to be an HCM capable of speeds of Mach 5-7; HCM development is supported by the scramjet-powered Hypersonic Technology Demonstrator Vehicle (HSTDV). An attempted test flight in June 2019 failed due to a technical problem with the Agni-1, serving as the launch platform for the HSTDV.


Japan has outlined plans for two hypersonic weapon systems; the Hyper-Velocity Gliding Projectile (HVGP) and a Hypersonic Cruising Missile. Japan outlined in its Midterm Defense Program (fiscal 2019-23) plans to strengthen the defense of “remote islands in the southwest region,” including through the establishment of HVGP units. The HVGP is intended to be a tactical HGV, capable of delivering a penetrating warhead for targeting, for example, aircraft carriers, or a “high-density EFP” (explosively formed penetrator) warhead for “area suppression.”


An initial variant will be deployed in the 2024-28 time frame with an improved variant following in the 2030s. The Japanese HCM will be a scramjet-powered missile, armed with the same warheads as the HVGP, and intended to provide a standoff capability to counter “ships and landing forces attempting to invade Japan.” The HCM will be deployed in the late 2020s/early 2030s, with an improved variant following later in the 2030s.

英国正在探索发展高超声速打击能力的选择,包括可能与法国联合进行的未来巡航/反舰武器项目,以取代风暴之影”/ SCALP巡航导弹,以及从2030年代以后替代飞鱼鱼叉反舰导弹。20197月,时任空军参谋长的Simon Rochelle空军少将宣布,英国寻求在2023年之前部署价格可承受的空射高超声速武器。

The UK is exploring options for the development of a hypersonic strike capability, including potentially as part of the joint Future Cruise/Anti-Ship Weapon project with France to replace the Storm Shadow/SCALP standoff cruise missile and the anti-ship Exocet and Harpoon from 2030. In July 2019, Air Vice Marshal Simon Rochelle, then chief of staff capability, announced that the UK sought to deploy an affordable, air-launched hypersonic weapon by 2023.

此外,正如《Aviation Week Network - 航空周刊》所披露的那样,美国空军研究实验室(AFRL)和英国国防科学与技术实验室(DSTL)之间正在进行美英联合开发的长尾鲨Thresher,战术高速、快速反应和高效反击)导弹,它将于20222023年完成。

Moreover, as Aviation Week disclosed, a joint U.S.-UK study, Thresher (Tactical High-Speed, Responsive and Highly Efficient Round), is underway between the U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory and UK Defence Science and Technology Laboratory. It is due to be completed in 2022 or 2023.


With the notable exception of the UK’s intention to rapidly acquire a hypersonic missile by 2023, the majority of known programs are not likely to deliver weapon systems until the second half of the 2020s or 2030s. This period is also likely to see a significant expansion in Russian and Chinese hypersonic strike capabilities.


Russia possesses a nascent hypersonic strike capability following the initial deployment in December 2017 of the Kinzhal ALBM and in December 2019 of the Avangard HGV system. The Kinzhal and Avangard were both announced by President Vladimir Putin in his state of the nation address on March 1, 2018, and reflect Russia’s long-term efforts to develop hypersonic weapons, particularly as a response to U.S. missile defense efforts.


Although seeming to catch the U.S. public by surprise, the development of the Avangard can be traced back to the Albatross project started in the late 1980s as part of the Soviet response to the U.S. Strategic Defense Initiative. NPO Mashinostroyeniya performed several tests of the Yu-70 prototype in 1990-92, until the program was put on hiatus amid the dissolution of the Soviet Union, says Markus Schiller, founder of ST Analytics and a Germany-based consultant on hypersonic technology. The Yu-70 project was revived shortly after Putin assumed power in 2000, leading to a series of test flights in 2001-11. The Avangard HGV is based on an improved version known as the Yu-71, which performed a series of tests in 2013-18, Schiller says.


The development of hypersonic weapons also reflects Russia’s interest in developing a robust conventional long-range precision-strike capability as part of its wider military modernization efforts. It is developing and deploying both nuclear and conventionally armed hypersonic weapons, including dual-capable systems, to undertake tactical and strategic roles.


In addition to the Avangard and Kinzhal, at least three more development programs are underway: the Zircon, GZUR (deriving from the Russian for “hypersonic guided missile”) and an air-launched weapon to arm the Sukhoi Su-57 Felon. The Avangard is an ICBM-launched HGV, initially equipping the UR-100N, a modernized version of the SS-19, and might equip the developmental SS-X-29 Sarmat (Satan 2). The Avangard is reportedly capable of attaining speeds in excess of Mach 20, can maneuver laterally and in altitude, and can travel intercontinental distances.

ICBM test
The Avangard HGV, initially equipping the SS-19 ICBM, will eventually be used on the developmental SS-X-29 Sarmat —tests of which are due to be completed in 2021. Credit: Kremlin


Although principally intended as a nuclear system, the Avangard can reportedly also be used in the conventional strike role. The Kinzhal is a dual-capable, air-launched derivative of the Iskander-M tactical ballistic missile, with a range of 2,000 km (1,250 mi.) and a speed of Mach 10. It is being deployed with a modified variant of the Mikoyan MiG-31, the MiG-31K, and may be integrated with other aircraft, including reportedly the Tupolev Tu-22M3 Backfire.


Russia is also developing a scramjet-powered HCM, the 3K22 Zircon, which will be capable of speeds up to Mach 9, have a range in excess of 1,000 km, and operate in the land attack and anti-ship roles. The Zircon will be compatible with existing launchers capable of launching the Oniks supersonic cruise missile, such as the UKSK vertical launch system. It is due to enter service in 2022. A Zircon was successfully test-fired from the new frigate Admiral Gorshkov in February 2020.


Following the collapse of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty, Putin announced the development of a ground-launched Zircon variant. The GZUR is reported to be an air-launched missile capable of a speed of Mach 6, a range of 1,500 km and sized to fit within the bomb bay of a Tupolev Tu-95MS Bear. It may enter service in the early 2020s. In this regard, Russian media reports in May noted the testing of a new hypersonic missile from a Tu-22M3  that is intended to arm the modernized Tu-22M3M. Another hypersonic missile is reported to be under development and intended to equip the Su-57.


China has thus far only confirmed one hypersonic weapon, the DF-17. Its pursuit of hypersonic weapons is driven by the requirements to counter U.S. missile defenses and acquire a robust precision-strike capability as part of its wider efforts to develop “world-class” armed forces. The DF-17 is a conventionally armed medium-range ballistic missile (potentially derived from the DF-16), equipped with an HGV, with a range of 1,800-2,500 km. When it debuted at China’s National Day Parade on Oct. 1, it was announced as being intended for “precision strikes against medium- and close-range targets.”


In testimony before the U.S. House Armed Services Committee this March, U.S. Air Force Gen. Terrence O’Shaughnessy, commander of U.S. Northern Command and the North American Aerospace Defense Command, stated that China is testing an intercontinental HGV. It is likely that the DF-41, China’s new ICBM that also debuted at the October 2019 National Day Parade, would be armed with the new HGV. O’Shaughnessy’s testimony appeared to echo public statements in 2014 by Lee Fuell, who was then in Air Force intelligence and linked China’s HGV development program to plans for that country’s nuclear arsenal.


China is developing the technologies required for HCMs. For example, in May 2018, a scramjet test vehicle, the Lingyun-1, was publicly exhibited for the first time in Beijing, while in August 2018 China successfully tested a hypersonic waverider test vehicle, the XingKong-2, which attained a speed of Mach 6. Notably, in April 2019, Xiamen University successfully flew the Jiageng-1 test vehicle, which employed a “double waverider” configuration. Interest in developing an air-launched hypersonic strike capability has also been noted. China is also believed to be developing two ALBMs, which would provide China with a near-term air-launched hypersonic strike capability.


The new CJ-100, which also debuted at China’s 2019 National Day Parade, warrants mention. Aside from the statement that the weapon offers “long range, high precision and quick responsiveness,” no technical information on the CJ-100 has been officially released. The South China Morning Post, citing the Chinese publication Naval and Merchant Ships, suggests the CJ-100 has a cruising speed of Mach 4 and top speed of Mach 4.5, adding that it employs a two-stage configuration utilizing a rocket booster and ramjets. Given China’s progress in developing hypersonic technologies, the possibility that the CJ-100 is a hypersonic cruise missile cannot be dismissed.


In a further indication of China’s progress in the development of hypersonic technologies, in January 2019 it was reported that an indigenous Turbine-Based Combined-Cycle engine had completed its design and development phase and was proceeding to the aircraft integration test phase.

这条消息是James Bosbotinis在 Aviation Week & Space Technology 发表的文章。您可以点击此处查看更多关于高超音速的文章。