Retired US General Says Russia Has Arms Rendering US Missile Defence ‘Obsolete’

Russia unveiled a series of next-generation strategic weapons systems last March, calling the weapons, which include the missile defence-evading Avangard hypersonic glide vehicle, part of a bid to preserve the global strategic balance amid NATO efforts to encircle Russia.

Retired NORAD chief of staff Air Force Maj. Gen. Howard Thompson has claimed that Russia and China have left the US far behind in the creation of hypersonic weapons, warning that existing US missile defence systems are simply no match for such armaments.

“Russian and Chinese research, test and development of hypersonic weapons have far outpaced that of the United States,” Thompson noted in a recent op-ed for The Hill, pointing to a recent study on such weapons’ ability to reach a ‘fourth dimension effect’ “by effectively shrinking a foe’s decision-making window” and rendering “existing air defences to be obsolete.”

Pointing to Russia’s Avangard hypersonic glide vehicle, which is expected to be introduced into service later this year, the retired officer also pointed to Chinese aspirations in this direction, saying Beijing has “been even more aggressive in their pursuit of hypersonic weapons.” 

Commenting on the perceived US inability to intercept hypersonic systems, Thompson argued that “the stark reality” was that the US’s “current missile defence systems, as well as our operational mindset, are simply incapable versus this threat.”

The retired officer explained that the US…

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