Hypersonic weapons are next-generation maneuvering strike vehicles launched at top of ballistic missiles that travel at speeds of up to Mach 10, or 10 times the speed of sound. They maneuver and glide along the edge of space, making them very difficult for missile defenses to shoot down.
The United States and Russia have also been aggressive about developing hypersonic strike capability. It is thought that Japan’s anti missile system could be made impotent if Beijing’s development of hypersonic weapons advances.
In Japan, the Patriot Advanced Capability-3 missile defense system has been deployed by the Air Self-Defense Force along with the Maritime Self-Defense Force’s Aegis destroyers equipped with Standard Missile-3 interceptors.
Taiwan has also deployed PAC-3 surface-to-air guided interceptors, while South Korea has decided to deploy the advanced Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) anti ballistic missile system on its soil to better cope with North Korea’s missile threats.