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Thursday, April 07, 2022

GCC at Mach 5: Could KSA and UAE eye Hypersonic Weapons?in-depth

While there is no indication that Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) members are currently pursuing hypersonic weapons, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) could develop an interest in hypersonic capabilities in the distant future. Operational requirements for hypersonics could be a need to penetrate advanced enemy air defenses, attain a prompt strike capability to neutralize time-sensitive targets or keep up with an arms race. KSA could also consider using hypersonic weapons for nuclear delivery if Riyadh ever pursues a military nuclear program.

Should the need for hypersonics arise, KSA and UAE would probably seek to purchase them from third parties. The U.S., Russia, and China are pioneers in this field, and their defense industries are the most likely source of proliferation.

Our 3,374-word (12 pages) special report explores the possible avenues for KSA and UAE to attain hypersonic weapons from operational and political standpoints. This report also examines the international “hypersonic landscape” to provide a baseline for understanding what systems could appear on Saudi or Emirati procurement lists.

Our special report is structured as follows:

-Hypersonic Weapons: What are they?

-Hypersonics in the Gulf: Exploring the Possibility (KSA and UAE)

-International Hypersonic Weapons Development (U.S., Russia, China, and Others such as North Korea, Japan, India, France, and Brazil)


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