Russia has fallen behind the United States in hypersonic technology and must rekindle its research and development efforts to overcome the widening gap, stressed Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin. “Sadly, today we see Russia lags noticeably in this sphere,” said Rogozin on a recent visit to a missile development facility near Moscow, reported Flight Global May 15. “Hypersonic missiles have significant advantages in terms of reaction times; invulnerability to existing and future air defense systems; long range and high altitude; and kinetic energy,” he underscored. Rogozin specifically highlighted the Air Force’s X-51A supersonic combustion ramjet demonstrator and US-Australia HIFiRE ramjet collaboration as impetus for Russia to “lay the basis for creation of a national competitor in hypersonic weapons,” reported Russia’s state-run RIA Novosti May 11. Rogozin claimed US research could “transition from a demonstrator prototype to creation of a multirole hypersonic missile” as early as 2015 at the current pace.
The Air Force overall reduced its size by 120 aircraft in fiscal year 2021, but kept about the same number of fighter, bomber and attack aircraft, according to data supplied by the service. The F-35 fleet saw the biggest increase while the B-1B bomber fleet saw the largest decline.