US Joint Chiefs Chairman General Mark Milley said on Wednesday that the Russian use of hypersonic weapons in the war against Ukraine was not having “really significant or game-changing effects.”
The general told a House Appropriations Defense Subcommittee hearing: “Other than the speed of the weapon, in terms of its effect on a given target, we are not seeing really significant or game-changing effects to date with the delivery of the small number of hypersonics that the Russians have used.”
US defense officials had said earlier this week that Russia launched between 10 to 12 hypersonic missiles against Ukraine since it launched its invasion of the country on February 24.
Milley added that this was the first time hypersonic weapons had ever been used in combat in history.
US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said: “I think he [Russian President Vladimir Putin] is trying to create a specific effect with the use of that weapon [hypersonics]… And as the chairman has pointed out, it moves at a speed that makes it very difficult to interdict. But it hasn’t been a game-changer.”
Austin added that Moscow’s use of hypersonic weapons was not a sign it was preparing to escalate to nuclear weapons.
Three days into the Russian invasion, Putin said in a televised address that he had ordered the country’s nuclear “deterrence forces” on high alert.
The next day, Russian nuclear missile forces and Northern and Pacific fleets were placed on enhanced combat duty.