The United States is "woefully behind" Russia and China in hypersonic weapons development, retired Air Force Brig. Gen. Blaine Holt told Newsmax; and the $1.2 billion spent on a contract with Lockheed Martin to provide the U.S. Navy with a ship-based hypersonic missile launcher "is just a down payment."
"We're not going to be in very good shape to try to defeat those weapons," Holt said Thursday on "The Record With Greta Van Susteren."
The U.S. needs to create a deterrence capability, Holt said.
"That's going to mean hypersonic weapons that also have nuclear capabilities along with them," he said.
The missile launchers announced Thursday won't be ready for flight tests until next year.
Meanwhile, Russia and China's advancements in the 7,000 mph missiles have the Pentagon working on a response to maintain deterrence.
Russia, China, and South Africa are holding drills in the waters off South Africa as the anniversary of Russia's invasion of Ukraine passes.
Russia says it will not fire its new-generation Zircon hypersonic missile during the joint naval exercise.
Russia's TASS news agency reported earlier this month that a frigate participating in the drills would perform a training launch of the Zircon missile system during the exercise.
However, Captain Oleg Gladkiy, who is heading the Russian contingent, said during a media briefing that no test launch would take place.
"The hypersonic weapon will not be used in the context of these exercises," Gladkiy said. "There is no hidden meaning in the exercises that we are performing today."
President Vladimir Putin has called the Zircon, which can travel at more than five times the speed of sound, "unstoppable."
The Associated Press contributed.
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