Hypersonic weapons and aircraft epitomize a 21st-century breakthrough that will transform science fiction to science fact. In fact, hypersonic technology has a long history, stretching back more than half a century. Similar to unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), interest and perceived viability has waxed and waned over the years, but the resurgence of great power competition between China, Russia, and the US has resulted in increased investment and interest by all parties.
Hypersonic refers to aircraft, missiles, rockets, and spacecraft that can reach atmospheric speeds in excess of Mach 5, which is almost 4,000 miles per hour. Virtually every debate about future capabilities of defense references hypersonic abilities. Hypersonic weapons are now a key theme amongst defense industry analysts.
Hypersonic missiles can be used to strike targets with extreme precision, and whilst one fear is that they will be loaded with nuclear warheads – another is that they will be loaded with non-nuclear packages which can be used to destroy facilities, communications, or weapons, and generally cripple capabilities. The US and China have both indicated that their hypersonic devices are being developed to carry non-nuclear payloads. These missiles can also adjust direction very rapidly, meaning that it is almost impossible to tell where they will strike. Hypersonic missiles can also adjust mid-air to change target.
The main trends in the hypersonic technologies over the next 12 to 24 months are highlighted. We classify these trends into three categories: technology trends, regulatory trends, and macroeconomic trends.
The report includes an insightful industry analysis of the hypersonic missiles and key use cases highlighting how armed forces around the world have started working on the development and implementation of the technology.
This report is part of our ecosystem of thematic investment research reports, supported by our “thematic engine”.
The global missiles and missile defense systems market is valued at $45.5bn in 2019.
Demand for hypersonic missiles will be driven by increasing global access to WMDs, and the potential for rogue state and non-state actors to gain access to these weapons.
There will be a significant spending push in hypersonic adjacent technologies – including missile defense technologies such as directed energy and advanced radars.
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Lockheed, Aerojet Rocketdyne, Boeing, ArianeGroup, Northrop Grumman, Raytheon, Dynetics, Leidos,Safran, MBDA, L3Harris
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