Investing in Hypersonics Test Infrastructure

The Senate Armed Services Committee has directed the Air Force to create a master plan outlining future requirements and proposed investment in hypersonics test infrastructure out to 2025, according to the report accompanying the Senate’s draft version of the Fiscal 2013 defense authorization bill. The committee said it is concerned because of the “dated” and limited nature of the existing test facilities at a time when hypersonic weapon systems could play a significant role in overcoming the tyranny of distance in the Asia-Pacific region and in countering anti-access, area-denial challenges from potential adversaries. “The state of the nation’s hypersonics ground test and evaluation facilities and workforce have not received adequate attention over the years” and they are “facing both threats of divesture as well as gradual decay,” states the report, issued the first week of June. Therefore, the committee instructed the Air Force Secretary to conduct a study examining the ability of the service’s air and ground test and evaluation infrastructure to support near- and far-term hypersonics development activities, and to incorporate the findings into the master plan. (SASC report; caution, large-sized file.) (See also Advocating Hypersonics from the Daily Report archives.)