By National Security Producer Jennifer Rizzo
The military took a big step forward in the pursuit of speedy strike capability with the successful test of a hypersonic speed weapon, one designed to travel five times the speed of sound for long distances.
The military was only willing to share some details, and the exact speed was not one of them. But from its launch from Kauai, Hawaii, CNN calculated the vehicle traveled an average of 4,800 miles per hour in order to reach the Kwajalein Atoll in the Marshall Islands in 30 minutes.
While this specific vehicle is not planned to go into production, the test was meant to collect data on the technology and performance.
"The data collected will be used by the Department of Defense to model and develop future hypersonic boost-glide capabilities," the Defense Department said in a press release.
The hypersonic technology is being developed as part of the DoD's Conventional Prompt Global Strike program, which is aimed at developing a system that could deliver a weapon strike anywhere in the world within an hour.
The military tested a hypersonic speed vehicle in August, but the flight was unsuccessful and the aircraft crashed into the Pacific.
That vehicle was "wing" shaped and different from the "conic" shaped vehicle tested Thursday. The military is testing different vehicle configurations in order to explore different options for hypersonic flight.
"Different vehicle shapes require different manufacturing and materials with varying technology maturity levels," said Pentagon spokeswoman, Lt. Col. Melinda Morgan.