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By Shivali Best,
Daily Mail, UK,
13 October 2017

Hypersonic missiles could spark World War 3 if powerful nations become "trigger happy", experts warn

They are currently being developed by the US, Russia and China, but experts have warned that hypersonic missiles could spark World War 3.

A shocking report suggests that the spread of this new class of weapons could jeopardize both small and large nations in a strategic war.

The report recommends that the US, Russia and China should agree not to export their hypersonic missiles to other nations.

The report, by the California-based RAND Corporation looks at the danger of hypersonic missiles - weapons capable of manoeuvring and flying faster than 5,000 kilometres/hour.

This speed - which is five times faster than traditional missiles - allows hypersonic weapons to penetrate most missile defences and compress the timelines for a response by a nation under attack.

Such weapons are currently being developed by the US, Russia and China, and their proliferation could result in other states setting their forces on `hair-trigger states of readiness`, according to researchers.

Other nations, including Europe, Japan, Australia and India are also beginning to explore the technology, suggesting it could quickly become widespread.

Richard Speier, lead author of the report, said: `Hypersonic missile proliferation would increase the chances of strategic war.

`It would give nations an incentive to become trigger-happy.`

The researchers predict that there is probably less than 10 years left to prevent the spread of hypersonic missiles.

Their report recommends that the US, Russia and China should agree not to export their weapons or major components to other nations.

The experts also suggest that the broader international community should establish controls on a wider range of hypersonic missile hardware and technology.

This isn`t the first time that experts have warned of the dangers of hypersonic missiles.

In July 2016, Mark Gubrud, a physicist and adjunct professor in the Peace, War, and Defense curriculum at the University of North Carolina, suggested that hypersonic missiles should be banned.

`Hypersonic flight may sound like screaming good fun - but it`s not meant for you,` he wrote in the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists.

`It`s meant for weapons that would probably be used only in the opening salvos of a nuclear war.

`They could also carry nuclear warheads, and could fly in under the radars that watch for ballistic missiles.`


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