Hypersonic technology has attracted a growing level of media interest of late. Successful tests of hypersonic systems by the United States, China, and Russia have raised concerns that we will soon see hypersonic weapons appearing in the battlespace. But despite the success of these experimental vehicles, much work remains to be done to overcome a number of challenges before hypersonic systems can become operational.

Hypersonic Air Power is the first in a new series of Air Power Development Centre publications in the Beyond the Planned Air Force series that explore the future of air power. This first paper explains science of hypersonics, describes the technological challenges that continue to be grappled with, and explores the potentially disruptive effect operational hypersonic systems may have.