Rajaram Nagappa is a visiting professor at the International Strategic and Security Studies Programme at the National Institute of Advanced Studies in Bangalore. His research interests include ballistic and cruise missiles and space security issues. From 1980 to 1990 he worked on the design and development of solid propellant rocket systems at the Indian Space Research Organisation. He has also been Pandalai Memorial Chair Professor at Anna University in Chennai and a Lady Davis Visiting Fellow at the Department of Aerospace Engineering at Technion—Israel Institute of Technology.
Hypersonic missile technology, if it ever matures, will enable quick strikes over long distances. But critics say that hypersonics are destabilizing—for example, they could be used to attack nuclear installations or could be mistaken for nuclear-armed missiles.
The author argues that technological barriers to deploying hypersonic missiles will inevitably be overcome, and it is inconceivable that nations such as the United States, China, and Russia will agree to a hypersonic test ban without overcoming those barriers first.
The author argues that, rather than banning hypersonic missile tests, it is better to use the time before hypersonics are deployed to debate their risks, develop deterrents to their use, and work out necessary confidence-building measures.