RUSI Defence SystemsVOLUME 18members only

Full Speed Ahead: Hypersonic Threats and Ship Survivability

Hypersonic anti-ship missiles are a fast-approaching threat forcing new demands on navies to protect their major surface combatants

Hypersonic flight is generally understood to refer to speeds above Mach 5, or roughly almost 4,000 mile per hour. The extreme heat and pressure forces created by travelling at such speeds, especially at low altitudes where anti-ship missiles must operate, are barriers that missile engineers have until recently found insurmountable. However, the US Air Force (USAF) has tested a prototype hypersonic cruise missile, the X-51 Waverider, since 2010, and China has tested the WU-14

lockmembers only content

Continue reading by joining RUSI

View membership options

Join the World’s Leading Defence and Security Community

  • A busy programme of members' only events
  • Access to a suite of RUSI publications
  • Access to experts, networks and research teams

Already have an account?


Justin Bronk

Research Fellow, Airpower & Technology

Military Sciences

View profile

Explore our related content