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The Military Science

US Army Completes First Test Flight of Mach 6 Weapon 230

Stirling Newberry writes "In a terse press release, the U.S. Department of Defense announced the first test of the the Advanced Hypersonic Weapon, which launches on a staged rocket and then glides to its target, in a manner similar to the Space Shuttle's re-entry. Earlier, ABC News posted a story with a video animation of the concept. Over at DefenseTech, they argue that the trajectory being different from an ICBM is meant to show that it is not a first strike device, but even the commenters don't think that explanation flies. The speed of deployment and the ability to strike targets without going high enough to be seen by many advance warning radars makes it a precision surprise attack weapon, a kind of super-cruise-missile for surprise, asymmetric attacks."
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US Army Completes First Test Flight of Mach 6 Weapon

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  • Stealth rockets (Score:2, Interesting)

    by swinferno ( 1212408 ) on Friday November 18, 2011 @11:16AM (#38098426)
    Amazing the USA still has the funds allocated to develop such things
  • by Rockoon ( 1252108 ) on Friday November 18, 2011 @11:17AM (#38098442)
    I don't see how my side having the capability to make "surprise, asymmetric attacks" could be considered a bad thing on its own. Whats the price tag?
  • by G3ckoG33k ( 647276 ) on Friday November 18, 2011 @11:22AM (#38098518)

    Saab tests hypersonic missile news (
    28 December 2007
    In an advanced test, Swedish conglomerate Saab, launched three hypersonic missiles to demonstrate controlled flight at extreme speeds. The missile, of which three were built, was test fired at maximum velocity, exceeding Mach 5.5, corresponding to 6500 km/h. Saab Bofors Dynamics, a subsidiary, developed the experimental missile, in a technology programme financed by the Swedish Defence Materiel Administration (FMV). The successful test makes Saab the first company to demonstrate that it is possible to manoeuvre missiles at hypersonic speed.

    Don't worry. This is not part of what was sold to China...

  • by StillNeedMoreCoffee ( 123989 ) on Friday November 18, 2011 @11:30AM (#38098622)

    Another big Wack a Mole hammer. I can never win at Wack a Mole why does the Defense Department think they will be able to?

  • Re:Not first strike! (Score:3, Interesting)

    by fuzzyfuzzyfungus ( 1223518 ) on Friday November 18, 2011 @11:33AM (#38098666) Journal
    While I suspect that you are joking, 'surprise' is really more 'first-strike' than mere 'first-strike' is.

    Nobody, as yet, has any anti-ICBM interception capabilities that aren't wildly overpriced, oversold, toys; but detecting their approach and performing whatever melodramatic Big Red Button sequence your own launch systems require before they arrive is pretty doable. It's sort of the whole point of 'deterrence' and people keeping their second strike systems nice and shiny.

    To the degree that this device manages to avoid pissing people off, it won't be because it's not an ICBM; but because neither this thing nor an ICBM is much use for knocking out the submarines on which the people who can afford it prefer to store at least a portion of their missiles...
  • Re:Not first strike! (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 18, 2011 @12:54PM (#38099836)

    Yeah, when you have a guy like that in your chain of command, you should probably listen to him...

    Course, on the other hand, if they hadn't provoked the US and gotten all demilitarized, we might now be dealing with a Cold War between China and Japan in addition to all the other crap right now. If, you know, they could have gotten Japan out of their country in the first place...

  • by Nadaka ( 224565 ) on Friday November 18, 2011 @01:51PM (#38100664)

    I think you fail to realize that I was a part of that faction. One where prayer for the apocalypse and extinction of the human race is common. Where service in the USAF:SAC was strongly encouraged. Where it was a blessing to be a soldier fighting in armageddon. Where a not insignificant portion of those my father worked with in the SAC also shared those same beliefs.

There's no future in time travel.