The US Army has revealed the official range of its hypersonic boost-glide missile, otherwise known as the Long Range Hypersonic Weapon, or LRHW.
“The Long Range Hypersonic Weapon provides a capability at a distance greater than 2,775 km (1,727 miles),” an Army spokesperson said, according to Breaking Defense. This means the hypersonic missile could be stationed in Guam and surgically bombard the Chinese if they invade Taiwan.
For comparison, the Mid-Range Capability (MRC) missile has a distance of approximately 1,118 miles. The LRHW’S 1,727 miles range gives the Army about 600 miles of additional striking distance.
The LRHW missile system consists of a rocket booster with a boost-glide warhead on top. The rocket launches the boost-glide vehicle to the desired altitude, and the vehicle then zooms to its target at hypersonic speed (or above Mach 5).
Hypersonic boost-glide vehicles can outmaneuver some of the world’s most advanced missile defense shields due to their high degree of maneuverability.
The Army keeping the weapon’s range under wraps for so long is unsurprising. If the LRHW were deployed in Taiwan, Japan, South Korea, or India, it could easily strike targets on Mainland China.
China and the US, already locked in a great power competition, quickly develop and deploy hypersonic weapons as Thucydides Trap brings these countries closer and closer to conflict.