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France to join Russia, China and US in race for hypersonic weapons


French government has announced its intentions to develop its own hypersonic weapons, heating up the race for hypersonic weapons, so far led by Russia, China and the US. Such hypersonic weapons are like missiles travelling at Mach 5, but are moreover likely to manoeuvre in mid-flight. This second trait makes of them threats much more harder to track and intercept than traditional missiles.


France to join Russia China and US in race for hypersonic weapons Design image of an hypersonic missile (Picture source : Wonderful Engineering)


Nowadays, some powerful countries claim to be developping hypersonic weapons, generating a so-called hypersonic race. Lots of words have already been written about the subject. But today, France is to join this race, along with Russia, China and the US, potentially becoming a game-changer.

Regarding Russia, the government unveiled in December 2018 its hypersonic glider, the "Avanguard", which is an intercontinental projectile, said being able to reach Mach 27 by the Russian authorities. As for China, since 2014, the country is said carrying out some successful tests of a glider that could reach speeds up to Mach 10. And as for the US, the country has contracted Lockheed Martin to design hypersonic Air-launched Rapid Response Weapon (ARRW) prototype.

Therefore, France does want to develop its own hypersonic weapons, becoming the 4th of 5 permanent UN Security Council members to join the race for those weapons. Yet, it could be an enormous challenge for French industry to develop and deploy such technologies due to its little experience in this area of expertise.

"We have decided to issue a contract for a hypersonic glider" that can travel at over 6,000 kilometres/hour, Defence Minister Florence Parly said last week, promising a test flight by the end of 2021.