Episode 89 — Hypersonic Strike: Insider Perspective

In Episode 89 of the Aerospace Advantage podcast, Hypersonic Strike: Insider Perspective, John Baum engages with one of the industry teams involved with designing, building, and testing next generation hypersonic strike technologies. Peer threats, particularly those posed by China, demand a new set of enhanced strike options. Hypersonic technology is a key factor in this equation. Defense leaders know this and have launched numerous programs, committed significant funding, and maintained a consistent focus to transition developmental technologies to the operational realm. This is a marked departure from decades’ worth of an inconsistent, wandering approach to maturing hypersonic technology. After tremendous progress in the 1960s thanks to programs like the X-15, the nation effectively ceded decades of potential hypersonic progress due to a lack of clear goals, strategic program portfolio, and dependable funding. Now, with peer competition stressing US defense strategies, CONOPS, and technical capabilities in ways not seen since the Cold War, it’s time to reclaim the hypersonic advantage. This is a difficult proposition given the need to innovate on numerous fronts, develop a new generation of talent, relearn lessons, and produce urgent results amidst tremendous pressure for success. This episode provides an inside perspective regarding what it’s like to be on this journey, better understand the technology, the people behind these efforts, and why it’s so important hypersonics enter America’s operational arsenal as soon as possible.


Host: Lt Col (Ret.) John “Slick” Baum, Senior Fellow, The Mitchell Institute for Aerospace Studies

Producer: Shane Thin

Producer: Daniel C. Rice

Executive Producer: Douglas Birkey

Guest: Eric Knutson, Director at Skunk Works Advanced Systems

Guest: Brian Schappacher, Air-Launched Rapid Response Weapon Deputy Program Manager

Guest: Arlen Kostival, Vehicle Systems Engineer

Image: An artist illustration depicts four Lockheed Martin AGM-183A hypersonic weapons fired from a U.S. Air Force B-52H at distant targets over an undisclosed location. Mike Tsukamoto/staff; Lockheed Martin; USAF

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