US tests its first long-range hypersonic weapon system

In recent times, the launch of the DF-17 hypersonic missile has achieved a remarkable feat—the United States finds itself unable to intercept this advanced weapon, instantly shattering its sense of security. But what makes it impossible for the United States to intercept these hypersonic missiles? Let’s delve into the details.

Analyzing Air Defense of Surface Ships

During World War II, both battleships and destroyers relied on naked-eye observations for air defense. Operating in squads, they utilized air defense weapon units to visually search for incoming weapons, aim, and shoot through the optical sight of the unit. However, without taking radar into account, the interception efficiency was rather dismal, standing at a mere 3%, according to statistics. At that time, the primary objective of air defense was to disperse and hinder opponents from bombing strategic positions. Consequently, regardless of the speed of incoming weapons, the probability of successful interception remained quite low.

The Aegis Air Defense System in the United States

Let’s now examine the Aegis air defense system employed by the United States. This system comprises five key components: the SPY-1 phased array radar system, MK1 command and decision system, MK1 display system, MK1 weapon control system, and MK1 combat readiness detection system. Additionally, there are the MK29 combat training system and AN/SRS-1 war direction finding system. These hardware components, including radars and missiles, form an integrated “combat system” linked through a “software system.”

The Role of Software in Air Defense

In the current fleet air defense strategy, long-range radars are utilized to track the trajectory of incoming weapons. The collected parameters are then fed into the software system, which automatically controls the air defense weapon system and launches interceptor missiles to achieve successful interception.

However, how can effective air defense be achieved if the radar system fails to measure the operating parameters of incoming weapons? Therefore, the crux of a truly potent air defense weapon unit lies in its software capabilities, enabling the fulfillment of its objectives.

hypersonic missiles

Is it possible that the U.S. air defense destroyer detects an incoming weapon but lacks the means to measure it? Almost a hundred interceptor missiles hover in the air as the missile hurtles downward, yet they remain idle, unaware of how to engage the target. Visualizing this scenario, it becomes quite apparent that it is a rather ludicrous situation.

The Importance of Software in Air Defense

Hence, the foundation of a robust air defense system lies not in the radar phased array or the air defense missile standards I, II, and III but rather in the computational power of the software. Without powerful software support, radars and missiles are rendered nothing more than scrap metal when facing hypersonic weapons.

Does this imply that intercepting hypersonic missiles is entirely impossible? To answer this question, we must return to the configuration of the air defense systems during World War II. Presently, naval ships are equipped with close-in defense systems such as the Phalanx close-in defense guns.

Unveiling the Challenges and Solutions in Intercepting Hypersonic Missiles
20mm phalanx close air defense weapon system

However, these systems do not account for the speed of incoming weapons; instead, they rely on the impact to neutralize the threat by driving it away. While the current close-in defense system is considerably more advanced than its World War II counterpart, the underlying principle remains the same—the chances of interception are minimal. During World War II, this defense mechanism was deployed against aircraft, and today it stands against hypersonic weapons.

As technology continues to advance, nations must develop innovative software solutions to counter emerging threats such as hypersonic missiles. Only by harnessing the full potential of software capabilities can countries effectively safeguard their territories from these unprecedented challenges.

The Future of Hypersonic Missile Defense

While the current air defense systems may struggle to intercept hypersonic missiles, it does not mean that all hope is lost. The relentless pursuit of technological advancements and strategic enhancements is paving the way for the development of more robust defense mechanisms.

Race for Hypersonic Supremacy

1. Advanced Radar Systems

Upgrading radar systems is crucial to effectively track and measure the trajectory of hypersonic missiles. The integration of state-of-the-art radar technologies, such as phased array radars and over-the-horizon radars, can enhance detection capabilities and provide more accurate data for interception.

2. Rapid Response Systems

Given the incredible speeds at which hypersonic missiles travel, response time is of the essence. Developing rapid response systems that can quickly analyze incoming threats and deploy interceptor missiles in real time is vital. This requires the seamless integration of advanced sensors, artificial intelligence, and automated decision-making processes.

3. Multi-Layered Defense

A layered defense strategy can significantly improve the interception success rate against hypersonic missiles. Countries can create a more comprehensive defense network by combining different interception methods, including kinetic and non-kinetic approaches. This approach may include utilizing directed energy weapons, electromagnetic railguns, and cyber defense measures to counter hypersonic threats.

4. Collaborative Efforts

Addressing the challenge of intercepting hypersonic missiles requires collaborative efforts between nations. Sharing expertise, research, and technological advancements can accelerate progress in developing effective defense systems. International cooperation and joint exercises can foster a collective approach to countering hypersonic threats and ensure global security.


The inability of the United States to intercept hypersonic missiles highlights the complexity and urgency of the evolving threat landscape. It serves as a wake-up call for nations worldwide to invest in advanced software systems, radar technologies, rapid response capabilities, and collaborative defense initiatives.

While the current defense mechanisms may fall short, the pursuit of innovation and the dedication to improving air defense systems will eventually yield breakthroughs in countering hypersonic threats. By leveraging the power of software, nations can strive towards a future where hypersonic missiles are successfully intercepted, ensuring the safety and security of nations and their citizens.

In this era of ever-advancing technology, the quest for superior defense capabilities remains a continuous journey that will shape global security’s future.

Unveiling the Challenges and Solutions in Intercepting Hypersonic Missiles