Keep up with the news by installing RT’s extension for . Never miss a story with this clean and simple app that delivers the latest headlines to you.

 

Hypersonic weapon: New US bomb kills long before you hear it

Published time: November 18, 2011 15:46
Edited time: November 19, 2011 13:00
Like the Advanced Hypersonic Weapon, the Pentagon's Falcon HTV-2 hypersonic plane is part of the Prompt Global Strike program (AFP Photo / Handout / Darpa)

Like the Advanced Hypersonic Weapon, the Pentagon's Falcon HTV-2 hypersonic plane is part of the Prompt Global Strike program (AFP Photo / Handout / Darpa)

The US Army has tested a hypersonic missile, which travels six times faster than the speed of sound. It is part of a larger plan to have the capability to strike any place on the planet within an hour.

The missile, called the Advanced Hypersonic Weapon (AHW), was launched from Hawaii on Thursday, the Pentagon reported. A rocket delivered it to suborbital altitude, after which the glider went for its target on the Marshall Islands, some 3,700 kilometers away.

It hit less than 30 minutes later, which means its speed was at least 7,400 kilometer per hour, or about Mach 6. An aircraft must be able to fly faster than Mach 5, to qualify as hypersonic.

A Mach number is used to describe the speed of an object or a fluid in comparison to the speed of sound in that medium. Mach 1 means the object travels at the same speed as sound. However the speed of sound may vary depending on such conditions as temperature and composition, so the speed expressed in Mach number is also variable. The now-retired Concorde supersonic passenger planes used to fly at a cruising speed of about Mach 2.

The test was aimed at gathering data on "aerodynamics, navigation, guidance and control, and thermal protection technologies," the Pentagon said.

The AHW is one of several projects of the Prompt Global Strike program. It is aimed at developing several weapons which can be launched from American territory and reach their destinations within an hour.

On August 11 the US Air Force tested another hypersonic glider called the HTV-2. It is faster than the AHW, with speeds reaching 27,000 kilometer per hour. But unlike the Army’s vehicle, it does not work well – the test was aborted due to a technical failure.

The Soviet Union developed ramjet engines capable of hypersonic locomotion and even tested one design, which successfully reached Mach 5.7. The work was stalled by the collapse of the USSR, and no weapon using this technology was ever produced.

Comments (1)

 

Jerome Brand 17.05.2013 15:50

Wow, Thats one fast piece of ordinance. Lets suppose for a moment that the speed was or is 30000 mph that would be over 500 miles a minute or 8.3 repeating miles a second. You would not even see it as it went by your eye sight.

Add comment

Authorization required for adding comments

Register or

Name

Password

Show password

Register

or Register

Request a new password

Send

or Register

To complete a registration check
your Email:

OK

or Register

A password has been sent to your email address

Edit profile

X

Name

New password

Retype new password

Current password

Save

Cancel

Follow us