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Rep. Lamborn Warns U.S. Falling Behind Russia, China On Hypersonic Weapons

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On Tuesday, Rep. Doug Lamborn (R-CO) warned that the United States is falling behind China and Russia in manufacturing and testing hypersonic missiles.

“As a country, we are behind China, and even Russia for that matter, and this is not a good situation,” Lamborn said, according to The Hill. He added that hypersonic missiles are “a whole new type of offensive capability, and we are behind, no doubt about it.”

“Right now, we don’t have the ability to adequately cover the tracking and even the fire control when it comes to hypersonic vehicles,” Lamborn added. “We need to have the sensor layers in space.”

Lamborn’s warnings were echoed by defense experts Mark Lewis, director of the National Defense Industrial Association’s Emerging Technologies Institute, and Kelly Stephani, an associate professor in the Department of Mechanical Science and Engineering at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign.

“The country that actually worries me the most is China,” Lewis said, according to The Hill. “Their systems factor much more closely into what we would anticipate as far as warfighting capabilities in that part of the world. We have seen what appear to be very capable systems in the hands of the Chinese.”

When asked by The Hill editor-in-chief Bob Cusack if she sees China ahead of the United States in these technological advancements, Stephani answered, “Yes.”

“We challenge our congresspersons, and the nation in general, to recognize this threat, and act on it,” Stephani said. “We have a limited time, and it is something that we have to rally on.”

Last year, other top U.S. military officials warned China and Russia have more advanced weapons than the United States, specifically pointing to hypersonic missiles.

“We’re not as advanced as the Chinese or the Russians in terms of hypersonic programs,” General David Thompson, vice chief of space operations for the U.S. Space Force, said.

Shortly before Thompson’s warnings, a report from the Financial Times revealed that China had tested a hypersonic missile that shocked U.S. intelligence.

The Financial Times reported, “China tested a nuclear-capable hypersonic missile in August that circled the globe before speeding towards its target, demonstrating an advanced space capability that caught US intelligence by surprise. Five people familiar with the test said the Chinese military launched a rocket that carried a hypersonic glide vehicle which flew through low-orbit space before cruising down towards its target.”

“The missile missed its target by about two-dozen miles, according to three people briefed on the intelligence,” the Financial Times added. “But two said the test showed that China had made astounding progress on hypersonic weapons and was far more advanced than US officials realized. The test has raised new questions about why the US often underestimated China’s military modernization.”

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