A national security research expert and director of a Washington DC strategic think tank said that the United States should incorporate space-based sensors to detect and counter new nuclear-capable hypersonic missiles from the Chinese regime, according to Taiwan News.

Tom Karako provided an analysis of the characteristics of China’s new hypersonic missiles and the serious implications they could have on U.S. security on Nov. 10, 2021, during an American Enterprise Institut podcast segment titled “What’s Going on with China’s Hypersonic Missiles? 

Karako is a senior fellow in the International Security Program and director of the Missile Defense Project at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS). 

The researcher’s strategic policy recommendation to the U.S. came after it became known that the Chinese military had tested a maneuver that could evade U.S. missile defenses. 

“This past August, we learned that China tested a nuclear-capable hypersonic missile that circled the globe before streaking towards its target. This advanced weapons capability surprised many in the U.S. intelligence community and has sparked both questions and concerns surrounding the true extent of China’s military modernization,” the podcast presentation reads

For the researcher, what makes these missile systems so dangerous is the maneuverability combined with speed and the ability to target through a portion of the atmosphere where U.S. air defenses are weakest.

As Karako explained, these missiles can slip “beneath where our exo-atmospheric missile defense interceptors function, but also higher than aircraft and many of our lower-tier air defenses function.”

He further explained that they are not predictable like intercontinental ballistic missiles. The difference lies in the fact that the latter have known trajectories, which form a “circular arc,” which facilitates detection and, therefore, the ability to intercept them. 

Regarding the high maneuverability capacity, which makes them more dangerous, he said that this is because they are similar to bombers, in that “you don’t know where it’s gonna turn from one minute to the next.”

However, he said that if the U.S. deploys space-based, rather than ground-based, sensors, it will provide a solution to increase the detection capability of these Chinese missiles, which is one of their current major shortcomings. 

But while he indicated the importance of pursuing this technology for the vital detection solution, he acknowledged that intercepting and destroying them will be the most difficult. However, Karako said that he is optimistic that the U.S. will be able to figure out a way to counter the threat from the Chinese military and that he is writing a research paper to contribute some solutions. 

Although he also stressed that Beijing’s hypersonic missile is not the regime’s only piece of strategic weaponry that threatens global security, the combination of its armaments “from aircraft to ships to subsonic missiles to ballistics” adding that “the imaginative combination that they can use” would endanger any country’s forces. 

“It’s really about the ability of China … to hold us at risk, push us back and alter the calculus of the U.S.,” the researcher says. 

So for him, finding a solution regarding hypersonic missiles directly addresses the U.S. role in the world.

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