Wormuth: Long-range fires 'likely' to be fielded on U.S. soil

By Ethan Sterenfeld / December 1, 2021 at 4:57 PM

The Army's upcoming hypersonic missile and other ground-based, long-range fires will likely be fielded in the United States, rather than in allied countries near China, according to Army Secretary Christine Wormuth.

"Initially, I think, they are much more likely to be fielded on United States territory," Wormuth said at a Dec. 1 Center for Strategic and International Studies event. "The Army is ready, when called upon, to be able to put those kinds of capabilities in the region. But it's really [the State and Defense departments] that will take the lead in those discussions."

A question from the audience was whether the military has made agreements to station the missiles in countries "in or near the First Island Chain," which includes Taiwan, the Philippines and Japan.

Long-range fires has become the Army's top priority in its modernization effort, and Wormuth said the ability to provide ground-based, long-range fires will be an important component of the service’s relevance in the Pacific.

The Army plans to begin fielding in fiscal year 2023 the Long-Range Hypersonic Weapon, which will be the military’s first operational hypersonic missile, and the Mid-Range Capability, a new ground-launch platform for Navy cruise missiles. The LRHW will fly at least 1,700 miles, while the MRC is expected to reach around 1,000 miles.

Army Chief of Staff Gen. James McConville said earlier this year that stationing long-range fires in foreign countries was a "political question."