US Army Tests Secret Supersonic Attack Vehicle

The good old days of threatening the world with a jillion nuclear ICBMs are over. Drones work great, but are relatively sluggish. So what if we need to blow something up in a hurry? The US Army's got a new toy.

The Pentagon announced a rare successful weapons test today, claiming its Advanced Hypersonic Weapon — basically a rocket plane with a warhead strapped to it — made a successful 3860km trip over the ocean. No ordnance was packed in this time, just sensors to make sure the thing can fly straight. But the Army managed to demonstrate it can fling this thing at speeds over the sound barrier — 1236km/h.

Interestingly, and perhaps most importantly, as DefenseTech points out, the AHW flew a "a non-ballistic glide trajectory". That's Pentagonese for very low. Most nukes shoot high into the atmosphere, and then arc back down onto their unlucky target. But by flying extremely fast and incredibly close, the AHW will not only not trigger Oh shit, a nuclear war is about to start alarms across the globe, but will evade enemy detection. The idea, according to an environmental impact report from this summer, is to "provide the President with the ability to promptly engage targets at strategic range without using nuclear weapons" by using a "kinetic warhead" instead of a nuke. Essentially, the AHW can be launched quickly, moving five miles every second, and destroy its target using the sheer force of its impact. Which is considerable, given that it weighs thousands of pounds and is moving past Mach 5. [Pentagon via DefenseTech]


Comments

    Lets see, say 500kg at 1500m/s (Given that most of the original weight is gone by the end) - 1.125 x 10^9 joules? Wikipedia says 4.184 x 10^9, so on the order of a quarter of a ton of HE.

      It really depends on what velocity is correct.

      He states 1200 km/h is the velocity, but then states that the intended aim is 5 mi/s, which is around 29000 km/h, so Sammy boy should really get his fucking facts straight.

        Well 1236kph was just an objective for this test. 5 miles per second I am interpreting as gizmodo for "really really fast"

      You should all know by now that the government never post the actual speed of any military flying vehicle, craft or object. Especially when it's new.

    Ahh, good old kinetics! This thing is really just a big bullet!

      Even better, as they say, "You can't jam a bullet".

    errr.... 1236km/h translates to 0.57 miles per second, not '5 miles per second'

    Send it to ahmadenijerks house and see if it works~!

      try .21 miles/sec.

    So more weapons while country goes broke, and more reasons to start a war with countries that don't attack others.

    While you fancy over new toys. I see a collapse coming.

    Thats nuthin' my ballstic missle can fire a wad into a gal's crater at 10 miles per second! Shawing giggitty giggity goo, jee wizzy yip yip hoorah!

    That's what we need, one more expensive weapon while this country collapses. Psychopaths and sociopaths are in charge of this country.

    I think you'll find he is referring to 1236km/h as the sound barrier... Also if this is capable of travelling over Mach 5 that would make it hypersonic, not supersonic.

    The human race sure has developed some great technologies in just the past 100 years. Think about it. In 1911 most people still didn't have electricity but today we can kill each other with great efficiency. Imagine what the world would be like if the money spent on military toys was used on things like ending world hunger.

    Yea , right? We know they will put a nuke in it. And I am sure one has Iran's Amadinajad's name on it.

    a pound of steel going 50,000 mi/hr is roughly equal to a pound of dynamite just laying there and going off. Things get obliterated to the molecular level for a 10 foot radius. The army will spend money to get that delivery . Terrorists will spend people to get that delivery. Unless they borrow your jet. Newer explosives will make even bigger holes. Hope we shoot first cause weve seen what they could do. But if we just stop war and any purposely killing other people the world will really be a better place.

    Kudos to Hugh Mann

    Not so secret anymore, is it?

      ssshhhh! don't let anybody know!

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