Thursday, August 11, 2011

Pentagon’s Mach 20 Missile Ready for Ultimate Test

Via (Threat Level) -

The Pentagon has been working for nearly a decade on an audacious plan to strike anywhere on the planet in less than an hour. Thursday could prove to be the do-or-die moment for that plan.

At approximately 7 a.m. PDT, a three-stage Minotaur IV Lite rocket is scheduled to lift off from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. It will puncture the atmosphere, and then release an experimental aircraft. That aircraft, known as the Falcon Hypersonic Technology Vehicle 2, will then come hurtling back to Earth at nearly 20 times the speed of sound, splashing down near the Kwajalein Atoll in the Pacific Ocean, approximately 4,100 miles away. Total flight time: about 30 minutes.


The stakes are huge for the upcoming flight. Darpa has no plans to build a third vehicle. And, unless this test goes well, it’s unlikely that the Air Force or any other branch of the military will pick up on the agency’s work.

“More than 20 land, air, sea and space test assets” will be collecting data during the flight, Darpa contends. All that information will inform “future hypersonic flight vehicle performance, ultimately leading toward the capability of reaching anywhere in the world in under an hour.”

No comments:

Post a Comment