Russia's 3M22 Zircon anti-ship hypersonic missile. Screen grab: Military Technology Zone/ YouTube

The commander of the US Strategic Command (Stratcom) appeared to admit in Congressional testimony on Tuesday that the US can’t stop “unstoppable” hypersonic missiles alluded to by Russian President Vladimir Putin in a recent speech.

Military.com quoted Air Force General John Hyten as telling the Senate Armed Services Committee that the US isn’t fully prepared to counter the challenge posed by hypersonics being developed by Russia and China. But it is ready “for all threats,” he told legislators. Hyten is responsible for the global command and control of all US strategic forces.

Hyten also seemed to equivocate when asked by a senator what kind of defense the US has against hypersonic missiles.

“We have a very difficult – well, our defense is our deterrent capability. We don’t have any defense that could deny the employment of such a weapon against us, so our response would be our deterrent force, which would be the triad and the nuclear capabilities that we have to respond to such a threat,” Hyten reportedly replied. The “triad” refers to US’s force of land, sea and air-based nuclear weapons.

Putin said in a speech before Russia’s parliament last month that Moscow has developed “invincible” new nuclear weapons, including hypersonic missiles, that can penetrate US defenses. China is also known to be developing similar weapons – including a hypersonic glide vehicle that can reputedly fly 1,400 kilometers to its target.

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