Russia 'flexing its muscles' in waters off UK warns Carter
Gerhard Hegmann, a journalist at Die Welt, said Moscow and Beijing’s adoption of hypersonic missiles marks a new state in the “spiral of threats” to Europe from Russia and China. The reporter noted a recent scare for a US military base in Ramstein, Germany illustrating the destructive power of the Russian weaponry.
Mr Hegmann said the US base was alerted when a Russian submarine carried out an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) test.
While the US was on constant alert to threats, he added a hypersonic weapon would be nearly impossible to intercept.
He added: “With the emergence of so-called hypersonic weapons the existing chains of alerting about missile launches and the anti-ballistic missile systems become useless and the time to react to a launch diminishes drastically.”
The journalist then cited German Council on Foreign Relations experts who suggest hypersonic missiles will distort the balance of power between nuclear states.
The experts indicated to Mr Hegmann Russia and China are leading in the development of hypersonic weapons, but said the US is committed to catching up.
The US Department of Defence announced earlier this year they had established a new base to develop hypersonic weapons, with the aim of fielding “air-launched and air-breathing hypersonic weapons capability” within three years.
Australia also announced at the start of the month they will cooperate with the US to jointly develop cruise missiles to counter China and Russia.
Defence Minister Linda Reynolds said: “We will continue to invest in advanced capabilities to give the Australian Defence Force more options to deter aggression against Australia’s interests.”
But German security analysts claimed Russia is unconcerned about American progress as they have effective defences against hypersonic weapons.
Russia has developed the S-500 Prometey missile system to intercept hypersonic weaponry, and also possesses an “unknown modified interceptor missile” according to the analysts.
The S-500 is expected to be deployed by the Russian armed forces in 2021, according to the US Defence Ministry.
Sergei Surovikin, commander of the Russian Aerospace Forces, said it would be capable of destroying hypersonic weapons in near-Earth space.
It comes after China and Russia look to strengthen strategic ties to show force to Joe Biden, the President-elect.
Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi told state media outlet The Global Times Beijing’s ties with Moscow should be more stable as the world becomes “more turbulent”.
He also attacked the US for “suppression” against China and Russia, after phone call with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov
Mr Wang added: “The US is still wielding the stick of unilateral sanctions and going against the trend of the times, and will only leave more disgraceful records in the world.”
December 22 saw China and Russia hold a joint aerial patrol over the Sea of Japan and the East China Sea.
China sent four nuclear-capable H-6K strategic bombers “to form a joint formation” with two of Russia’s famous Tu-95 bombers to conduct the joint patrol as “part of annual military cooperation plan” between the two countries.
An announcement from Chinese and Russian defence ministers ahead of the drills said it “aims to further develop the China-Russia comprehensive strategic partnership of coordination in the new era, and enhance the level of the two militaries’ strategic coordination and joint operational capability to jointly safeguard global strategic stability”.
The Global Times quoted Chinese experts who said the drills will become “routine” in the future.