For the first time since the Soviet Union fell, the Army is developing weapons with a thousand-mile range. That’s roughly five times the range of anything the Army fields today and three times the range of previously announced programs. The payoff in a future war with Russia or China could be dramatic – but the technological, financial and even legal problems are daunting.
The ambition? Develop not one but two types of ultra-long-range missiles to help blow holes in advanced air defenses:
One Army weapon, not yet officially named, would be a high-performance hypersonic missile, tearing through missile defenses at Mach 5-plus to kill critical hardened targets such as command bunkers.
The other, the Strategic Long-Range Cannon (SLRC), would use a gun barrel to launch cheaper, slower missiles at larger numbers of softer targets like radars, missile launchers and mobile command posts.
Together with comparable weapons launched from jets, ships, and submarines, these ground-launched “strategic fires” would blast a path for attacking aircraft, from Army helicopters to Air Force bombers. That kind of mutual support – formally known as Multi-Domain Operations – would transform the Army’s role from a consumer of the other services’ support to a full partner in providing long-range firepower.
Multidomain Battle: Time for a Campaign of Joint Experimentation, National Defense University, 9 January 2018
Multidomain Battle: Converging Concepts Toward a Joint Solution, National Defense University, 10 January 2018
Aiming The Army’s Thousand-Mile Missiles, Breaking Defense, 11 September 2018
Will The Army’s 1,000-Mile Missiles Kill Reagan’s INF Treaty?, Breaking Defense, 12 September 2018