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Trump Adviser Robert O’Brien Says Navy Wants Hypersonic Missiles on Warships

US Navy

Trump Adviser Robert O’Brien Says Navy Wants Hypersonic Missiles on Warships

Robert O’Brien, President Trump’s national security adviser, said the U.S. Navy intends to place hypersonic missiles on warships to improve their defense capabilities.

Addressing an audience at the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard in Maine, he added that the service plans to put the advanced weapons on Virginia-class submarines, Zumwalt-class destroyers and Arleigh Burke-class ships

O’Brien noted that the Navy’s Conventional Prompt Strike program will “provide hypersonic missile capability to hold targets at risk from longer ranges." 

“This capability will be deployed first on our newer Virginia-class submarines and the Zumwalt-class destroyers. Eventually, all three flights of the Arleigh Burke-class destroyers will field this capability,” he said. 

The service considered upgrading some of the older Burke-class destroyers, which date back to the early 1990s. However, making them operational will be expensive as the size of the ships’ current launchers is insufficient to fit the missiles. One option is to wait for the development and release of smaller hypersonic weapons such as an air-breathing model. 

The Navy requires additional firepower on its warships to keep China’s naval forces at bay in the Asia-Pacific region. The service also takes into account putting the Vertical Launching Systems cells on the latest surface combatant. 

“Investment in the future is vital. Lightly and unmanned vessels equipped with artificial intelligence are likely to play a role in the future of our nation’s fleet,” O’Brien said. 

He also supports the Battle Force 2045 plan, a vision of Defense Secretary Mark Esper for a 500-ship Navy to beat China in military strength. 

“The pursuit of these new systems, however, cannot be allowed to cause a ‘trough’ in force structure, whereby the nation endures reduced capability while we wait for future technologies and new ships to come online. Any such plan that trades current capability for future out-year promises is not acceptable to the president,” he said.

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Tags: Conventional Prompt Strike program Defense News hypersonic missile Mark Esper Popular Voices President Donald Trump Robert O’Brien Thomas Modly U.S. Navy