The commander of the United States Northern Command And North American Aerospace Defense Command, General Lori Robinson spoke to the United States Senate Armed Services Committee about her "concern" over the potential of the newly developed Russian cruise missiles. The text and video of her speech are published on the website of the Committee.
Speaking about possible events that may affect the mission of US defense, the general noted that Russia and China "have expanded their military presence." Where it happened, Robinson did not clarify, noting that Russia has prioritized the development of "advanced cruise missiles capable of acquiring targets from distances not previously seen."
“Russia has prioritized the development of advanced cruise missiles capable of holding targets within North America at risk from distances not previously seen. These systems present an increasing threat to North America due to their long range, low radar cross section, and the limited indications and warnings likely to be seen prior to a combat launch,” she explained.
“While the likelihood of a Russian kinetic strike against the United States and Canada is currently low, it is prudent to invest in advanced sensors and defensive weapons systems to protect our nations’ vital assets,” Robinson continued.
"I have confidence in the layered approach provided by US overlapping air defense systems. However, I am concerned about the potential for those advanced cruise missiles, which can be launched from bombers or submarines at much greater ranges than the previous systems," the general stated. To effectively counter these missiles, she said the US military would have to “adapt new tactics, techniques and procedures" of struggle and "continue to invest and innovate, to stay ahead [technically] and make significant advancement over these emerging threats," she said.
Jane's Missiles & Rockets magazine reported last December, citing Russian sources, that Russia completed development a new Kh-50 cruise missile. According to its sources, the missiles would be deployed as part of Russia’s new state armament program for 2018-2027.
The development of Kh-50, the magazine’s sources explained, is being carried out by the Russian state machine-building design bureau Raduga in Dubna. This work, is carried out as part of the program of medium-range missile development. The Kh-50, as noted by the interlocutors of the magazine, is supposedly a subsonic cruise missile using the guidance system of strategic cruise missile Kh-101, but with a smaller size low-profile glider.
The US Northern Сommand was established as a separate military branch in the Armed Forces of the United States in 2002 following the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. The main objectives of this formation were then called United States protection and support of the regional authorities. The scope of responsibility of this command includes aviation, land and marine areas and covers the neighboring States.