The U.S. is developing a state-of-the-art weapon that can hit targets anywhere in the world within an hour and might be used to neutralize nuclear weapons in North Korea and Iran, a report says.
James Acton of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace published the report on the development of "conventional prompt global strike" weapons early this month.
The weapon is a new-concept missile with an intercontinental ballistic missile booster capable of flying 20 times faster than the speed of sound and striking any target around the world within an hour. Development began in 2000.
According to the report, development is still underway. A test launch of an advanced hypersonic weapon was successful in 2011, and a second test in May this year with a hypersonic aircraft was also successful.
The report presents an operational scenario for the use of the weapon against North Korean and Iranian nuclear weapons. If the launch of nuclear weapons by either of these countries seems imminent, the superweapon could carry out a preemptive strike without the targets realizing until they are hit.
The report also posits strikes to preempt terrorists attacks and attacks on satellites.
The weapon will be capable of hitting fixed targets like radar facilities, and mobile and hidden targets, the report added.
It could be effective against North Korean missiles hidden in a bunker, which otherwise are hard to strike with conventional, or non-nuclear weapons, as well as the reclusive country's mobile missiles, which takes 30-90 minutes to fuel.
U.S. Congress is generally in favor of the superweapon, although no concrete plan for procurement and deployment has been approved, Acton said.
But some experts warn that Russia or China could respond with nuclear weapons when they mistake an incoming CPGS for a nuclear weapon, since the shape and trajectory are similar.