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Media Readout: Ray Speaks on Hypersonic Weapons

  • Published
  • Air Force Global Strike Command

General Tim Ray, Air Force Global Strike Command commander, spoke virtually at an industry Hypersonic Weapons Summit, Oct. 29, 2020.

Due to COVID-19, this Hypersonic Weapons Summit was virtual and Ray provided insight on bolstering strategic deterrence and global strike through the integration of conventional hypersonic capabilities. He also explained his command’s mission with the nuclear triad as well as the command’s views on competition between great powers.

According to the Institute for Defense and Government Advancement organizers, the U.S. government has displayed a growing interest in pursuing the development and near-term operationalization of conventional hypersonic weapons and systems.­­

“Hypersonic weapons are not new to the United States Air Force,” Ray said in prepared remarks to summit attendees virtually. “An ICBM by definition is a hypersonic weapon and in the 1960s B-52s were dropping X-15 hypersonic aircraft, so we’ve done this before. We have, however, not seen until now a need to weaponize that technology.”

In line with the Department of the Air Force, Air Force Global Strike Command’s modernization efforts look toward the development of conventional hypersonic-weapons in order to add it to the command’s arsenal due to foreign nations’ attempts at weaponization.

“It certainly is time develop hypersonic technologies, as we watch China and Russia doing the very thing,” Ray said. “If would-be adversaries are equipped with hypersonic weapons, we have to make sure we can answer their capabilities.”

Ray expressed that answering the capabilities of potential near-peer adversaries is not the only motivation his command has for moving forward with developing hypersonic weapons, and that this is an opportunity for the United States to maintain an upper hand on strategic deterrence.

“Hypersonic weapons have the ability to begin to dismantle adversaries’ deterrence architectures in an effective way,” Ray expounded. “If we are to continue on a competitive path and to want to manage escalation, hypersonics are an important capability we need to pursue.”

Air Force Global Strike Command’s mission is to provide strategic deterrence, global strike and combat support to U.S. Strategic Command and other geographic combatant commands.

“We, as Airmen, always figure out incredible innovative ways to leverage our advantage and hypersonics is just another dimension of that,” Ray said.

Ray’s comments are available online:

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3