Hypersonic weapons cover great distances quickly, dramatically shrinking the shooter-to-target timeline. Their maneuverability and speed make them highly survivable against traditional missile defenses.
Russia has invested greatly in hypersonics. Having wisely identified these weapons as valuable to their defense strategy, China beat the United States — until recently the undisputed leader in hypersonic technology — to an operational hypersonic weapon. The People’s Liberation Army’s DF-ZF hypersonic glide vehicle, mounted on a DF-17 ballistic missile, reportedly has a range of up to 2,400 kilometers.