U.S. and Australia to develop hypersonic missiles
Details: Australian Defense Minister Linda Reynolds said in a statement the government would "continue to invest in advanced capabilities" to give the Australian Defense Force "more options to deter aggression against Australia's interests."
- The government has "earmarked" AU$9.3 billion ($6.8 billion) for "high-speed long-range strike and missile defence, including hypersonic development, test and evaluation," Reynolds said.
- She didn't say how much it would cost to develop the air-launched, long-range missiles or when they would be rolled out, but the Sydney Morning Herald reports that the government aims to start testing prototypes "within months."
What they're saying: Both Reynolds and Michael Kratsios, acting under secretary of the U.S. Defense for Research and Engineering, called the joint Southern Cross Integrated Flight Research Experiment (SCIFiRE) project "game-changing."
"This initiative will be essential to the future of hypersonic research and development, ensuring the U.S. and our allies lead the world in the advancement of this transformational warfighting capability."— Kratsios' statement
Of note: The move could further inflame tensions with the Chinese government, which has been at loggerheads with the Trump administration and Australian officials this year on a range of issues, notably the origins of the pandemic.
- This week, Australia and China have clashed over a Chinese government official's doctored Twitter image depicting an Australian soldier killing an Afghan child.