States aim at developing credible weapon systems that would strengthen their nonconventional or conventional deterrence. Credibility is ensured when states possess weapons that can reach targets on time. Weapon systems that are capable of evading enemy missile defence system further strengthen deterrence by ensuring that the weapon systems are credible. One of the biggest challenges for states has been to develop weapon systems that could reach time-sensitive and mobile targets that required weapon systems with greater speeds. The concept of ‘Prompt Global Strike’ whereby the United States plans to develop a family of weapon systems that can reach any part of world within an hour is precisely to address the issue of reaching time sensitive targets.
The need to reach time sensitive targets in a timely manner was realised in 1998 when the US Tomahawk cruise missiles were fired against hideouts of Osama Bin Laden but in vain as by the time the missiles were fired, Laden had escaped.
Hypersonics were an option to reach time-sensitive targets. Hypersonic weapon systems will travel at speeds of Mach 5 and above that require technological breakthrough. Work on such technologies took place in the United States during the times of Cold War. Progress was made on scramjet technology that would provide the basis for developing hypersonic sys