When you absolutely have to get there fast (and bomb something)
November 17th, 2011
09:26 PM ET

When you absolutely have to get there fast (and bomb something)

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.

Filed under: Military • Technology
soundoff (108 Responses)
  1. Stephen Swinehart

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  6. Russ

    Is the US just supposed to standby and let rival nations gain technological advantages? This is how the sound barrier was broken. . If you don't experiment and take science to the edge what is there to learn and benefit from it! If we were not testing this technology the Chinese and Russians would be. Don't be so naive to think that they wouldn't and possibly might be!

    December 10, 2011 at 5:57 pm | Reply
  7. mike B

    The business of war keeps me employed. So all you anti-war asses shut up. It makes my economy better. So we will continue to make weapons badder, faster and smarter. There are lousy people out there who have no regard for life and peace. So before they take our lives and our peace we need to take theirs. If you cannot handle it get out of the United States. You can live with those people and sympathise with them. Then lets see how nice your damned lives will be.

    December 6, 2011 at 2:00 pm | Reply
    • ky

      everyone on this thread must all hace low hangers . if men in this county have to be expressing there fight and.kill instincts i have one thing to say maybe two.lol
      wake the flip up. we are the bad in the world we are being used as a police for the elites of the world. as you guys look right over the problem at home dose nobody see that the us is being used our troops are pawns in the attempt to achieve this NWO. WAKE UP there will never be a problem for any one with nukes. the on nuke problem is our reactors . you guys are wimpy illinformed dumbed down perfectly confused. But it not to late get past the mainstream media where you are reading this now . youll never know the truth from any primtime media mogal outlet. they are all infilltrated by three or four layers of different alphabet organizations to keep you the mainstream dumbed america from knowing the truth ......... seek the truth and youll stop worring about.china and start worring about what we have been told is the american government. which is not even a part of the 50 states cia fbi nsa the federal reserve irs nasa all not part of the american government . YOU KNOW THE REST OF THE WORLD IS WONDERING WHY WE DONT SEE WHAT IS.HAPPENING TO US IN OUR OWN COUNTRY .it easy to see when you are out of the strong hold of the us borders just how bad they have dumded the us citizens . but trust i weekend to anywhere off the northamerican soil and youd probably never.come home. guys you reallly need to stop the tv watch ling and research . there are no time to waste . your family is in your hands .
      now assuming iam still alive tomarrow what do you guys think id love to hear that some body got off the comffortable chair and found out what they shkuld know about you freedom reach is gone . whi knows what fema is doing . what about the tsa what about the federal reserve and obama is killing the consitution or what bush let of it .going.on istead of couch militarty.that you all seem to love to be. i challenge you to home work and read up on some of your rights its a short list . so i wish you all the truth you deserve. WAKE UP
      THANK YOU CNN and sorry for.the rant but please sheple.

      December 6, 2011 at 9:27 pm | Reply
      • Leave Decisions To Educated

        I love all of the misspellings and improper grammar used in this response. Although I agree with you, albeit slightly, regarding things like the New World Order or at least a unified banking system, you are unfortunately also a product of a system. Your system is the overwhelming conspiracy spatting minority. As for other points, we are a policing power, and it is unfortunate that our government likes sticking its nose where it doesn't belong. However, if the mass populace of our country were to rule, we'd be in for a real shock. We (Americans as a whole) are not capable and well educated enough to be making these decisions. This is why we do not vote on everything, but only on who should represent us. Are there things working against us like banks and lobbyists? Yes. Should we have input on when and why we go to war? Maybe, and I say this because again there are people out there who think you should never go to war, which is foolish. Is our government making huge mistakes? Hemorrhaging money? Focusing in the wrong areas? Yes. Yes. Yes. But again, WE as a people are not capable of running this country, so lets just do our best to remain educated and pick the best representatives, because we all have the right to vote, even if we aren't smart enough to vote.

        December 13, 2011 at 11:18 am |
  8. g.r.r.

    Once we have learned a great deal about hypersonic missiles, then we can develop a full blown aircraft/spacecraft. Space is all about speed. If we can do mach 10-15 at say 100,000', then it will take a simple kick motor to put us up to leo. With such an approach, it would drop launch costs to below $100/lb. To put this in perspective, the shuttle cost 20,000/lb, EU's Ariane is around 4K/lb, Russia's is around 3K/lb, and SpaceX is around 1000/lb. With launch costs of 1000/lb, we are seeing private space taking off. We even have talk of a base on the moon and mining for mineral use in space (such as water to LEO). At 100/lb, it will make it economically possible to mine minerals for use on earth.

    November 18, 2011 at 5:54 am | Reply
    • D.a.v.e.

      Hahahaha – Funny!

      November 18, 2011 at 8:34 am | Reply
    • Bob

      When I was a kid in the 50's, there was actually a novel written similar to your proposed approach.
      I believe you are correct in your assessment. It makes sense from a technical/economic vision.

      November 18, 2011 at 2:31 pm | Reply
  9. Anas

    Forget the Pentagon, I would like to see Pizza Hut to take up this technology and start delivering pizzas when I want them, instantly!

    November 18, 2011 at 4:03 am | Reply
    • qwerty

      Better yet, Star Trek transporter technology. "Pizza delivered anywhere......in 30 seconds or less!!!"

      November 19, 2011 at 1:06 am | Reply
  10. kyro

    frist off iam, sorry if this has been mentioned , but seriouly dont you think that this has already been around awhile there only release these results and testing for the public to now be aware ,so they can be used openly . theres alot we are not told .

    November 18, 2011 at 2:59 am | Reply
  11. Brad

    I'm poor and live in the United States. I have a college degree and it's nice to know that the government just spent billions on a bomb that can kill people quicker. You would think that our governemt would have learned that war is not the answer, instead they just go ahead and shake the hornets nest, which is the rest of the world, again, just another time, just to see how angry those pesty undeveloped nations and lesser powers can get. I look at congress, and the president, and to be honest with you, I know they are dumb, but they are tree huggin wrong, so then you have to wonder who really is making the decisions? If you can look me in the face and tell me that this can go on without pelosi, Reid or our freaking president Obama raising hell with all the liberal rhetoric they chant, if they are really in control, I don't believe that. They are all a part of the same stupid agenda too. Just puppets beggin for more coin. Our nation today is just as bad as every other world power in recorded history. The only sad part is the worst is yet to be seen.

    November 18, 2011 at 2:48 am | Reply
    • Brad

      Ohh and on top of that we don't know who our leader or I should say, decision maker, really is.

      November 18, 2011 at 2:56 am | Reply
    • Brad

      So we spend trillions on making a better weapon, giving other nations the idea that what was to them, impossible, possible, so that for a fraction of the cost they can recreate what we have, but know if we use this weapon it's WW3, the end. So then we will go and spend trillions more on making an even better weapon. Forget peace. No we want a better weapon and over time, eventually, you will build the ulimate weapon, one that will destroy everything. This is just dumb thinking.

      November 18, 2011 at 3:07 am | Reply
    • Brad

      We could have spent the trillions we spend on weapons to make the people who hate us and the people we hate eventually agree to work together, as a whole. Imagine what the world as a whole could accomplish in a peaceful way, technologically? All this hate, for what?

      November 18, 2011 at 3:23 am | Reply
    • g.r.r.

      First off, I doubt that you have a degree. At least not from an accredited university.
      Secondly, this is needed to prevent nuke war from coming. Look at China. Chinese leaders have already been bullying those nations around them that do not want to be under their control (does not matter if they do not want to be under ours either). They are threatening South Korea, Japan, Vietnam, Phillipines, and India. In addition, they are building a base in Pakistan as well as in Venezuela. In addition, consider that China makes a number of treaties, but then breaks their word on them. Right now, they are trying to conquer the west economically by illegal means. We are about to stop that. Once we stop that, then China is going to do a lot more saber rattling.
      So, the west is going to have to make choices. Do we have a superior conventional set of weapons that will force China to NOT attack, or do we decide to use nukes? I prefer the first. With this kinds of fast missiles, if we put these in Taiwan, then assume that China attacks. With taiwan being 100 miles east, this will only take 1 minute to cross the distance. That means when this occurs and is detected, that Taiwan can take out Chinese boats, missile launchers, etc within 1 minute. In addition, these are much cheaper and effective than rockets. So, Taiwain can send these quickly. In addition, this just made our bases around China very effective. It allows us to cover the distance to ANY of their launch sites in less than 10 minutes. That may not mean much to you, but if we are able to track and take out their 2'nd and 3rd wave crafts, as well as all of their ships, in the first 5 minutes, then the worst that we have to suffer is their first wave. With the work on lasers and railgun as well, it is possible that we will not have to suffer from that as well.

      November 18, 2011 at 6:11 am | Reply
  12. ohnoes

    I think they are just trying to prepare for the worst. They are brandishing new technology in hopes that it will act as a deterrent against hostile military actions while the world is squabbling over money. Greed is distracting. Of course, it is just speculation. You have to remember a surprise attack is a surprise. You aren't suppose to expect it! Our financial pals overseas are ambitious and they aren't financially destabilized. They got the USA by the gonads and the US government knows it.

    November 18, 2011 at 2:47 am | Reply
  13. Chan

    I agree with the newer comments; Most the air force testing these days is leading to space tech. We are very close to being in a new age of everything...this tipping point isn't to far away. We have some serious new materials and technologies...We just need a power source. (Fusion has been coming up to the plate a lot again lately). Hell we can turn lead to gold now lol; it just cost 500x's more then its worth to make lol. NASAs vision of a hypersonic vehicle we all grew up seeing pictures of is very close. This is all the more part of why the shuttles were scrapped; NASA wasn't grounded literally; there just pushing into something more conventional until the door finally opens for our next ship. Just look at the new lander thats about to go out...The freaking thing is POWER landed...so cool. Not only is it power landed itself but by a crane the size of a bus...These are all big steps in testing for future space craft. (that alone if this lander works is a huge step for Nasa and mankind.) The 100yr Starship programs pretty cool too. Btw many people don't seem to know this but there is an actual space military force now; under the Airforce. (And they are on fire with advancements lately). Both are also helping to push Robotics into the next age.

    November 18, 2011 at 2:38 am | Reply
  14. M.K.

    When a country is facing an enemy that is bent on totally wiping it out if possible, it needs all the weapons it can muster to prevent that from happening. If we could have deployed the Corsairs, P-51s, and more P38s and P47s when the Japanese bombed Pear Harbor, we could have shortened the pacific war by two or three years. The B17 bomber and the B-29 were overblown and the only reason they prevailed was because of the number produced. neither one lived up to its expectations except for the B-17s ability to take punishment. All of these pursuit planes were ready shortly after they were designed, but it was after the fact except for the P-38s. For all the good they did, the guns on the B-17 were useless. If the B-17s had of been pressurized allowing them to fly at a higher altitude, they would not have needed guns and the German fighters could not have shot them down as easily as they did. The early B-29s were flying death traps..

    November 18, 2011 at 2:29 am | Reply
  15. Chan

    For the lil monkeys running around here assuming things, here is the information: This is a project that's been running on the side of the HTV(s) and others from DARPA (HTV1 and 2 were lost at sea; Mach 20 (+15k Mph). They are part of a Global strike weapons program (Prompt Global Strike) also with the same name. The brother of the program w/ Air force is the FALC ( Force Application and Launch from Continental United States; Code name: DARPA Falcon Project) With the intention of striking anywhere on the planet in 1 hour. The programs are all for HWS (now HCV; Hypersonic Cruise Vehicles) Rapid strike reusable tech delivery systems vehicles. This could have been the HTV-3X aka "Blackswift" or offshoot of...(Which I assume is true because its speed is around that of the article (M 6), that version was to test military and civilian application(s). It was not canceled ; funding was dropped – which obviously has been back in the last couple years because (Officially there are at least 6 programs for HSV right now.) most of which are in the double digits for mach speeds. Blackswift is the best bet (or like I said an offshoot)...These programs are not to deliver warhead strikes...) Kinetic energy's at these speeds alone are some serious explosions. (And that's the point (the cost in the long run goes down) To launch a warhead we would use rockets for long distant or a stealth from a regional facility to deploy lol. These are for actual combat vehicles (scram jets etc; not rockets lol) These are not the same tech as UFO lore such as the Aurora (which hell could be flying around up there; they wouldn't tell us because its in active usage and its project must be secret; same as the stealth bomber was in the 80-90s. However to continue with the mythical hypersonic vehicle its possible if it is in service that these are related projects to reach the mainstream testing because they have already moved onto something better.) Please don't make fun at people below talking about UFOs (Because your only showing your ignorance if you think that's means extraterrestrials)... Because they are and the military will never tell you anything that's really being tested or more so IN USE; by the time it reaches media they are ancient vehicles in relevants to the "Black" projects. Other projects in this department are: X-41 Common Aero Vehicle (CAV). Anyway im done; I threw out enough abbreviations and department for those interest to be able to go look up.

    November 18, 2011 at 2:25 am | Reply
  16. m

    The potential to kill someone anywhere in the world in an hour is very intriguing.

    November 18, 2011 at 2:14 am | Reply
    • Ed

      ....An ICBM can do that in under 20 minutes.

      November 18, 2011 at 2:40 am | Reply
      • g.r.r.

        At 10000's x the costs. In addition, ICBMs are limited in use because they DO carry nukes. Once we launch one, then it is widely assumed that it is nuke. with a small fast cruise missile that costs less than 1/10000 of an ICBM, we can launch at will against a nation like Iran, North Korea, China, etc. In fact, two of the large flash points are going to be Taiwan and South Korea. North Korea is developing not just nukes, but chemical and biologicals. If we have these in South Korea, we can hit anywhere inside of it within 10 minutes. And if we an aircraft off their shores, then it is less than 1 minute to a site. Again, that means that we can stop the secondary and successive waves of attacks.

        November 18, 2011 at 6:19 am |
  17. BJJSchecter

    This is why we will alsways be in debt.

    More posteurizing for China.

    November 18, 2011 at 1:42 am | Reply
    • RSL

      Posteurizing? Does that mean we're standing firm on our position to extend milk's shelf life?

      November 18, 2011 at 2:52 am | Reply
  18. Ultra

    I am less interested in the military applications of this technology, and more interested in the possible civilian uses. If my guess is correct this Hypersonic is some sort of SCRAM jet technology possibly with RAM jet engines to get it to supersonic intake velocities. This type of engine could be used for single stage to orbit space planes. The advantage being that SCRAM jet engines are able to skim the very outer reaches of our atmosphere for Oxygen, meaning it eliminates the need to carry liquid oxygen into space with you, as in a conventional rocket. This dramatically decreases your vehicles weight. Imagine being able to fly directly form an airport to the ISS some day! Also, this could potentially be used for supersonic commercial flights, allowing passengers to leave a destination and arrive on the other side of the world in less than 5 hours, rather than 20+ hours.

    I just hope the Military is willing to share some of their advances with NASA and doesn't sit on the technology. NASA had a similar test vehicle that they tested in 2007 or so. Advances in SCRAM Jet technology could pave the way for affordable, and accessible access to space.

    November 18, 2011 at 1:14 am | Reply
    • iamthelorax

      I bet you're right! NASA has never been far behind Air Force technology, and occasionally it is on par with it. This tech would be invaluable for spacetravel.

      November 18, 2011 at 1:16 am | Reply
    • Emilio Dumphuque

      Perhaps this will get the VentureStar program working again.
      Coupled with it's linear Aerospike engine, "single stage to orbit" should be a snap.

      November 18, 2011 at 1:37 am | Reply
    • Phil

      Please send your ideas you mentioned to DoD and NASA, keep at them 'till you get a reply.

      November 18, 2011 at 2:46 am | Reply
    • g.r.r.

      This will in the future be used by the DOD to build an aircraft, and then as a spacecraft. After all, this tech is being developed by Boeing, so they will do both. However, it will remain inside of DOD/NASA for several decades. This will not be used to do nation to nation hoping for sometime, except possibly to very secured nations.

      However, we need lots of times development time on this and a means of lowering the costs. Building missiles will lower the costs of engines. And obviously, with speeds like this, we would be able to take out a nations defenses quickly. Assume that we had something like this in afghanistan. We could hit a spot in pakistan in under 10 seconds. No need for drones flying overhead. However, we are not likely to use these in pakistan. Far more likely that the first use will be Iran, North Korea, or Burma.

      November 18, 2011 at 6:27 am | Reply
  19. GoUSA

    BTW....if E=MCSquared, this vehicle probably gained a couple of dozen seconds of time relative to everyone else on the globe. Wonder if they used cesium clocks to verify the time differential on this aircraft?

    November 18, 2011 at 1:00 am | Reply
    • iamthelorax

      I think at that speed, which isn't really anywhere near the speed of light (671 million mph), and only 30 minutes of flight time, the amount of time the vehicle gained in respect to us was probably less than a millionth of a second.

      November 18, 2011 at 1:14 am | Reply
    • MrNiceGuy

      Actually your wrong. ENERGY=mass x the speed of light squared. which is 999,999,999 m/s x 999,999,999 m/s . They went 5 times faster then the speed of sound which is about 17,500 m/s . Not even close.

      November 18, 2011 at 1:15 am | Reply
    • Mopery

      GoUSA, your understanding of science is abysmal.

      November 18, 2011 at 2:10 am | Reply
      • g.r.r.

        Not really. He is actually accurate. He is simply off on scale. The fact that he brought this up here with this says a lot. It is nice to see Americans thinking in terms of science with this and other items.

        November 18, 2011 at 6:29 am |
  20. David

    This seems like a test of scram-jet technology.

    If that is what this is, and it's successful, this could mean a new era in space vehicles.

    That would be incredible.

    November 18, 2011 at 12:51 am | Reply
    • iamthelorax

      It is SCRAM tech, but don't they require oxygen to function?

      November 18, 2011 at 1:17 am | Reply
      • g.r.r.

        atmospheric. This will run around 90-100K' which has a THIN atmosphere.

        November 18, 2011 at 6:31 am |
  21. Ken in NC

    So with this vehicle, I can order a real pizza from Italy and have it delivered while it is still hot? Pizza Hut is gonna love that.

    November 18, 2011 at 12:44 am | Reply
    • Sam I. Am

      Good idea, Ken, but I've a feeling all the toppings will be sloshed to one side of the pie, stuck to the box, etc... 😉

      November 18, 2011 at 12:53 am | Reply
    • finkster

      But the problem is you'll be waiting on the tarmac eight hours before you take off

      November 18, 2011 at 12:55 am | Reply
    • Ed

      The question is will you be able to afford the delivery guys tip.....lol.

      November 18, 2011 at 2:43 am | Reply
  22. stopwars

    Thats great. While our country's financial condition is spiraling downward, the miltary is spending like they are in charge of the printing press. Occupy out of control military spending.

    November 18, 2011 at 12:36 am | Reply
    • iamthelorax

      Yes, we should let the Chinese outdo us in military technology. NOT

      November 18, 2011 at 1:18 am | Reply
    • Emilio Dumphuque

      Military technology is one area in which we still beat the world.
      It's like that because the government stimulates it with LOTS of money!!

      November 18, 2011 at 1:33 am | Reply
      • Steve

        The internet and jets came from this R&D money. I think its well spent unlike social security and medicare spending who pale in comparison to the defense budget.

        November 18, 2011 at 1:51 am |
  23. Bob



    November 18, 2011 at 12:34 am | Reply
  24. 60minuteman

    So we could get a New York pizza delivered to Chicago, before it gets cold. Isn't technology wonderful.

    November 18, 2011 at 12:24 am | Reply
  25. GoUSA

    China and Russia might want to wake up and stop spending all their resources plotting and planning how to hack into American servers and networks and stealing innovation their pitiful little brains cannot create themselves. The fact remains, the United States could and will always have the potential to crush you like a little tiny bug. Why? Because we can and will if you continue to oppress the world and your own people and offer assistance to evil empires like yourselves. The fact remains, the US must build newer and better military might to keep these developing countries in their place. Otherwise, whats the option? A communist enslaved monoculture Chinese world of oppressed clones...a jihadist global dictatorship bent on destroying all other religions? We dont think so.....humanity is destined to be free of you idiots.....free of oppression, ignorance, corruption, and religious fanatics. So we will keep building bigger and better ways to plot destruction of anyone that tries to destroy America or its allies....its humbling isnt it?

    November 18, 2011 at 12:20 am | Reply
    • SayWhaaa

      Nevermind the fact that no military seems to want to attack anybody but the US. Future wars are economic wars, the sooner the DOD is shrinked the sonner America can get back on track. Plus quit playing Call of duty and get real, everybody has nukes so it doesn't really matter, we"ll all be dead anyway.

      November 18, 2011 at 12:27 am | Reply
      • g.r.r.

        Actually, China is in a cold war with the west and is currently winning. Of course, they are cheating as well. Hopefully, this stops soon. Thankfully, EU has been smarter than has the US. They actually block china, until China is willing to honor their treaties (they honor nothing; they cheat at every treaty that they have made).

        November 18, 2011 at 6:35 am |
    • Mopery

      You're a fool to rattle your sabre at the Chinese and Russians, as both have the capability to annihilate the United States should it ever come down to a nuclear exchange. Have you studied history? Ever heard of Mutual Assured Destruction? Because that's what we will be facing if it ever comes to a war with either of these nations. Sure, if we launch first our nuclear arsenal we will destroy them, but shortly after we will face the full force of their nuclear arsenals. It's a no-win situation, a nuclear war would be the final and most foolish act of humanity.

      November 18, 2011 at 12:36 am | Reply
    • GoUSA

      Not so true anymore.....not with first strike, and satellite tracking and the super secret anti-gravity stuff we have but you never read about. Its not so simple. Smart minds have been planning these scenarios for 50 years. Yes its a horrible way to die....a world soaked in isotopes with 30k half lifes and nuclear winters for everyone. So thats where "deterrent" comes into play. Walk quietly but carry a big stick my friends....

      November 18, 2011 at 12:55 am | Reply
      • Mopery

        Super secret anti-gravity stuff? Your whimsical BS is not going to save you should a nuclear war really break out, You'd gain more safety from the blast by ducking and covering underneath a school desk than you would from your fantasies about "super secret stuff". As for the worst of the long-term isotopes contained in the fallout, it's Strontium-90. It has a 28 year half-life, its chemistry mimics that of calcium, which means that once ingested it will bond in your teeth and bones, and irradiate you until you are dead. No magic pills will prevent it from being bonding, there is no simple way of filtering it out of the water supply, once it is released the human race will have no hope of survival.

        November 18, 2011 at 2:03 am |
      • g.r.r.

        Hmmm. You have been playing too many games or listening to too many weird websites.

        November 18, 2011 at 6:36 am |
  26. Jason Glugla

    The companies involved can outsource the work to our friends in China.

    November 18, 2011 at 12:16 am | Reply
  27. BOB (burnt out bad)

    Zoom Zoom!

    November 18, 2011 at 12:09 am | Reply
  28. us1776

    This is for hyper-fast smart-bombs delivery.

    Can deliver from the U.S. as fast as an onsite sub cruise missile launch.

    Nobody needs nukes which are horrible uncontrollable effect weapons. Radiation scatter is nearly unpredictable since nuke creates its own weather practically.

    November 17, 2011 at 11:54 pm | Reply
    • iamthelorax

      Very true, the age of nuclear weapons is all but over, with the exception of nuclear bunker busters for the Iranian facilities underground. With mutually assured destruction in the balance, no state actor would dare use them against another nuclear nation, or one with nuclear allies. Now that conventional explosives can have yields comparable to Hiroshima, the future of warfare lies in fast, precision strikes. This vehicle will allow us to do that anywhere in the world in an hour's notice.

      November 18, 2011 at 1:21 am | Reply
      • g.r.r.

        far less. These will likely be based so that from forward bases, we can hit anywhere in under a minute.

        November 18, 2011 at 6:38 am |
  29. WillardR

    Sweet. Now those long range flights from the US to halfway around the world and back (aka B-2) won't take so long and turnaround time will be much faster too.

    November 17, 2011 at 11:49 pm | Reply
    • idontknow

      These aren't meant to come back!
      They are a one way ticket!

      It's about time this thing started working......it's only been in development for over 2 decades now!

      November 18, 2011 at 12:37 am | Reply
  30. Randoms

    All these armchair warpigs wanting to kill masses quicker. Everyone in this world has a family they love, like you. Do you ever stop to think the civilians you get huge wood and swelled pride to drop bombs on, don't even have a clue of what their government leaders mandate? I am for developing non-collateral means of ending war between governments. Go ahead and fire back at me in response, but I bet you'd change your tune if you lost your umbrella.

    November 17, 2011 at 11:47 pm | Reply
    • Lurch

      I'm sure you will still be saying that when Iran releases nuclear weapons on you and your family. Please, note the sarcasm.

      November 18, 2011 at 12:01 am | Reply
    • SayWhaaa

      Ah yes Iran signing off on its own destruction by launching nukes, yeah how many they got now like 0 or something.

      November 18, 2011 at 12:29 am | Reply
  31. DudeSki

    Sounds to me more like a high performance cruise missile than a bomber. I doubt this thing flies low, so it might have some sort of ballistic trajectory — yet, it may well be steerable, which is not something usually expected of ICBMs. So it may be an intermediary between a Tomahawk and an ICBM. These hypersonic crafts are launched from the air by a large plane, like a B52; much like some types of cruise missiles. We're in the era of drones, so I would imagine that eventually, the thing may even be broadcasting back flight data, radar and video to some ground command post.

    Imagine the sort of threat it will eventually pose: launchable from anywhere in the world, much like ICBMs from submarines. Extremely fast to target, and extremely hard to intercept. Probably very accurate given steerability. With a small nuke payload it is a new strategic weapon altogether, and probably cheaper to operate and maintain than any sort of missile.

    November 17, 2011 at 11:44 pm | Reply
    • Theravade

      Its a scramjet.

      November 18, 2011 at 12:24 am | Reply
      • idontknow

        Pretty much!

        November 18, 2011 at 12:39 am |
  32. RonWH

    Anyone remember "The Thunderbirds" aka "International Rescue"....? Here we go...on our way to developing that capability if we can see fit to applying it to peaceful purposes (among others...).

    November 17, 2011 at 11:32 pm | Reply
  33. Aacon

    No one knows all the secret weapon technology and weapons the U.S.A. has except the U.S.A. . If the U.S.A. can knock any nuclear weapon fired at the U.S.A no matter how many and others have the technology to,then a weapon of this speed would be great for having an upper-hand in-case a nuclear war was ever started for the U.S.A. to be able to completely stop if it took the technology mentioned to do it.I see no problem with being prepared.Maybe the U.S.A. is testing a weapon that will sink far enough into Irans' nuclear site(s) where nuclear bombs are being sought after to avoid having to send any troop for a quick end to the problem in that area.I sure do not trust Irans' leaders after they said " Israel should be wiped of the map " .That sounds like if Iran had a nuclear weapon some of the old leaders would strike Israel with that nuclear weapon to be able to know they did it before they died while in hiding.

    November 17, 2011 at 11:12 pm | Reply
  34. Robert

    First strike capability. Very difficult to intercept when not on ballistic trajectory like ICBM.

    Push button, 1 hr later Achmadinahnutjob is history.

    November 17, 2011 at 11:05 pm | Reply
  35. Frank M

    Now we really have no use for bases in other nations. Ron Paul 2012

    November 17, 2011 at 11:02 pm | Reply
    • madcow11

      Wars are won by boots on the ground. This helps give them the support they need.

      By the way, Ron Paul is an idiot.

      November 17, 2011 at 11:04 pm | Reply
      • Bill744

        I'll second your sentiment about Ron Paul. If he were president, we'd soon be living in some tragic Russian novel. His ultra-libertarian world really would not be that pretty. Son, he's no Republican.

        November 17, 2011 at 11:10 pm |
      • Russ

        Wars are won by those with the best and most lethal technology and the ability to break the other side's codes. Boots on the ground are necessary too, but it was code breaking and weapons systems that won WWII and the first Gulf War for the Allied Countries.

        November 17, 2011 at 11:13 pm |
      • madcow11

        Russ, it was far more than technology and code-breaking that won WWII, although they were critical. Wars are won by many factors: superior leadership, adequate financing, committed political support, better training... among many other things. This would just be another piece of the puzzle.

        November 17, 2011 at 11:18 pm |
      • Dan the military man

        @ Russ, and other guy, Don't forget all the bombing runs we did on their supplies, refineries and factories while ours ran at 100% capacity with no threat. Kinda hard to win a war if your having trouble with supplies.........

        November 17, 2011 at 11:30 pm |
      • SayWhaaa

        And a dumb enemy who opened up two fronts!!

        November 18, 2011 at 12:31 am |
    • Marine5484

      You don't win wars from the air, it is just a technology demonstration and will be years before they can make an fighter bomber that travels this fast, and the aircraft is not a floating base. Ron Paul...snowball meet hell...hell meet snow....nevermind he already melted.

      November 17, 2011 at 11:17 pm | Reply
    • Hugo

      Are you agreeing with Ron Paul or panning him with your statement?

      Should we have a Navy? Should the Navy go into the Eastern Hemisphere? If yes, how should the ships be resupplied?

      November 17, 2011 at 11:52 pm | Reply
  36. Bill744

    4800mph = mach 6.25 at sea level. If that's the average speed, this cone was moving a good deal faster than the quoted "5 times the speed of sound." It makes me wonder what the advantages are over a missile, besides perhaps returning to be fitted with another payload.

    November 17, 2011 at 10:55 pm | Reply
    • g.r.r.

      The vast majority of the weight of a rocket is actually O2. In fact, it is around 70% O2 (including its tank). Then you have another 15-20% H2, 5-10% rocket and 5% payload (all give or take a bit). If nothing else, look at the molar value of H2O. O is 18 while H is 1. So it is a 9/1 ratio, though the tank for LH2 is heavier than for LOX (hence why the ration of 70/15-20.
      So, you get to move this to RP1 or so (skipping the LH2) as well as drop LOX. That means that you will have a system of about 1/7 to 1/10 of the original size. That is a pretty amazing advantage.

      November 18, 2011 at 12:16 am | Reply
      • Dave


        November 18, 2011 at 12:37 am |
      • Mark J.

        In layman's terms: You get more bang for your buck, literally. It's lighter, faster, has less parts, is cheaper to make, cheaper to fly, carries less volatile fuel, and has a higher payload(the part that goes boom) to vehicle ratio. This technology could be adapted to deliver a range of munitions types and sizes. Overall this could offer a great strategic advantage.

        November 18, 2011 at 1:58 am |
    • idontknow

      mach 5 is what the government will tell you. in all reality......they want this thing to go faster.....much much faster!!

      November 18, 2011 at 12:42 am | Reply
  37. Steve

    Any military system ever developed was used at least once.
    The atom bomb was used twice – by the USA.
    So, who are we going to obliterate this time? Some little Island nation?
    At least it will take less time. Great. The generals just can't get enough.

    November 17, 2011 at 10:52 pm | Reply
    • madcow11

      The military needs to keep ahead in technology. That makes for a deterrence. It doesn't mean we have a current use for it. Maybe in your view, we should just go back to using bows and arrows.

      November 17, 2011 at 11:00 pm | Reply
    • Bill744

      That's far from true. For one example, the B-58 never dropped its nuke. It was the first supersonic strategic bomber. It was famous for two things – it's shape (wasp shaped fuselage and delta wings) and an early test flight where the dummy bomb refused to drop after being released (laminar flow sucked it back to the hard point). Other obvious examples would be every single ICBM ever made. Repeating an untruth doesn't make it any more true.

      November 17, 2011 at 11:00 pm | Reply
      • g.r.r.

        And before that, the B-47, which was the original nuke aircraft.

        November 18, 2011 at 12:20 am |
    • txjew

      Still haven't used the f-22 or f-35 two arial conflicts since they went into service. Still haven't used any of the 5,800 ICBMs we built in the last 50 years – except to put satellites in space. I assume we are doing it so that we've don e it first and have a technology edge as the Chinese catch us in other areas. Always good to have one gadget the other guys don't.

      November 17, 2011 at 11:06 pm | Reply
      • madcow11

        The f-35 isn't in service yet.

        November 17, 2011 at 11:08 pm |
      • Clint

        Yes, what he said. Regardless of what you might see in "live free or die hard" or other movies/tv shows, the F-35 is still in flight testing and has not entered service yet.

        I think last week I saw an article saying two different versions of it had completed carrier deck testing recently.

        November 18, 2011 at 2:36 am |
    • g.r.r.

      Take a chill pill. This is meant for China. Launched from Australia, Japan, South Korea, Diego Garcia, Poland, etc, this will allow us to hit china hard when ever attack

      November 18, 2011 at 12:19 am | Reply
  38. JohnHunt

    I can't recall when was the last time that such capability was needed. Not Libya, not Iraq, not Afghanistan. I seriously doubt that we would have used it when Russia invaded Georgia...So, why do we need this?

    November 17, 2011 at 10:52 pm | Reply
    • madcow11

      We aren't trying to fight past wars, John. We are trying to be prepared for future ones.

      November 17, 2011 at 11:02 pm | Reply
    • Bill744

      Well, one difference between an aircraft and a missile is that an aircraft can be recalled and a missile cannot. The big difference between this kind of aircraft and any other is that it doesn't require a forward air base or carrier battle group to project power. That increases the effectiveness and scope of US military's deterrent capability. It would not raise the hackles that an ICBM launch would (and they're strictly strategic nuke, never to be used in real life), and would make it clear to crazy thug dictators (or terrorists) that our arm is longer than ours... Still wanna box? Other uses could well be for quick surveillance as well as providing alternatives in case satellite networks are trashed.

      November 17, 2011 at 11:08 pm | Reply
    • be ready

      Take your pick: have it and not need it, or need it and not have it. Every male in my family for who knows how many generations has kept a gun of some type handy just in case of trouble. In all those years, and all those people, the need has only come up twice: 10-15 years ago, my uncle was surprised to find a man walking toward him in his house with a crowbar raised up over his head, about to hit my uncle. Unc grabbed his gun and chased the man (and several accomplices) out of his house. 50+ years ago, my great-uncle's estranged father-in-law ambushed him in his dairy barn very early one morning - one of the very few mornings he didn't carry his pistol. He wasn't harmed, but the nutjob took him at gunpoint back to the house and ended up shooting his (the nutjob's) wife. Had my uncle been carrying, I have no doubt he would have prevented it. So, is trouble likely? Not remotely. Would you rather be prepared or caught without? Fortune favors the prepared.

      November 18, 2011 at 12:07 am | Reply
    • iamthelorax

      N. Korea or Iran could cause us to have use for this.

      November 18, 2011 at 1:22 am | Reply
    • g.r.r.

      If we have these in Japan, south Korea, Australia, Poland, etc. we can hit gobi desert and other sites that China has their missiles and aircraft at, in a matter of minutes. In addition, Russia and China are busy working on this as well. Finally, once we have learned a great deal about hypersonic missiles, then we can develop a full blown aircraft/spacecraft. Space is all about speed. If we can do mach 10-15 at say 100,000', then it will take a simple kick motor to put us up to leo.

      November 18, 2011 at 5:40 am | Reply
  39. dynamite

    Excellent. Can they drop nukes too?

    November 17, 2011 at 10:45 pm | Reply
    • Clint

      I think the idea is that the "aircraft" would BE the weapon, one way trip, no humans onboard. Like a modern day much faster V-2....

      November 18, 2011 at 2:34 am | Reply

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