back to article Hypersonic missile successfully hits Ronald Reagan

The US Army - yes, Army - has announced a successful test flight by a prototype hypersonic missile. The Advanced Hypersonic Weapon (AHW) demonstrator took off from the island of Kauai on a three-stage rocket booster at 1:30 AM local time yesterday, and splashed down close to its target coordinates some 2,400 miles away at the …

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Mushroom

They're insane.

Stark raving Dr. Strangelove glove waving insane.

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'This does seem a bit odd as nobody panics when a Tomahawk cruise missile gets fired off'

Not really, unlike a ballistic missile the other side doesn't see the cruise missile pop up on their radar and have to make an instant decision whether they're watching the other side playing silly buggers or going to have to replan their weekend around the horrible flaming megadeath of humanity.

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Devil

Yes indeed

Just ask some of the people with totally grey hair in UK, USA and Russia missile command from that case when our dear French neighbors did a test firing of a submarine launched ICBM from international waters west of Ireland in the general westerly direction. So far so good. However they did not tell anyone that they are doing it. Thankfully both NORAD and USSR strategic missile command held their nerve for the 5 minutes needed to identify that it is not going for anywhere interesting.

These new missiles however may actually end up even worse. They are fired on top of a launcher which is big enough to be picked up by early warning systems. At the same time it is totally unclear where the warhead is going. It can glide 200 miles or go 2000 and hit the "enemy" capital. Ugh... I am not sure I like the idea...

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Larger

An icbm is also generally larger, and more expensive and generally carries MIRVs which could land anywhere, so if you see one pop up unexpectedly unannounced it really could mean bad news, as one is hardly going to waste one by loading it up with conventional stuff. But then again, with certain rich countries... who can tell...

Whereas, a tomahawk barrage off the coast of any middle eastern country is hardly of consequence to China or Russia, I would think, if they could see it and didn't know about it...

(range)

...besides I would imagine the other major players are routinely informed of any of this sort of thing anyway to avoid confusion.

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Holmes

Oddly Enough

If you think about it, if the hypersonic missile is aimed at you then it would potentially wipe out your installation before you even knew it was coming.

Now all they need to do is build one of these hypersonic missiles of neutrinos and it will have destroyed you before it has even taken off.

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Different name, same effect

So rather than being an ICBM, this is an Inter Continental Gliding Missile. I suppose that makes everything all right, then?

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Doh...

Yet again Mr Page shows his lack of military knowledge and understanding. Tomahawk-esque cruise misiles have a much lower thermal bloom and tend to be launched from mobile platforms so hence are much less likely to be observed/detected being launched compared with an ICBM launch from a silo in a fixed location with massive bloom. ICBMs have largely been directly associated with nuclear weaponry so on seeing one or more unexpected launches one may reasonably expect it to be some form of nuclear attack.

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FAIL

Unless of course the launch of the cruise missile is broadcast live on CNN then they are observed by at least three people.

The point is of coursehat if people bricked themselves over Tomahawk launches as they do over ICBMs they may well pay more attention to them, for some reason ICBMs seem to capture the imagination more.

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Anonymous Coward

ICBMs are useless

The current situation with "space junk" should give the game away: it's fairly

trivial to blast a bunch of gravel up into orbit and fzzzt, that's the end of the

ICBM threat. No more f*king spysats, either.

So now the nobbies need a fast delivery system for nukes that stays

atmospheric.

Dhu (anonymous 'cuz I dig the Masque)

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Actually there goes GPS, hubble, most of our low-level communications arrays, weather and environmental satellites, the freaking ISS even.

Great plan!

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Pint

wow .. oh wow ..

better access to SPACE !!!

groovy man !

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Devil

I'm all for it.

If there's one thing lacking in British houses, it's space. We need access to more of it.

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Mushroom

Better Late Than Never

A very belated cremation of the man, is it not?

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Mushroom

The reason no one panics when cruise missiles are shot is that they cannot carry city-busters. From a strategic point of view, there is a huge difference between tank-busting 100 kiloton nukes and megaton monsters that will flatten an entire city.

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WW2

Tell that to the previous inhabitants of Nagasaki. The "fat man" was only 21kT.

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Mushroom

For whatever it's worth...

The "Fat Man" bomb that was dropped over Nagasaki was a "mere" 21 kilotons.

"Little Boy" was even smaller at 13 and 18 kilotons, and completely flattened Hiroshima.

That's a lotta tanks.

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Anonymous Coward

You do know

That the weapons that destroyed Hiroshima and Nagasaki were only 20 kiloton. Most ICBMs are fitted with multiple "dial-a-yield" weapons that can be configured between 50 and 500 kiloton. The huge Megaton weapons are really about going after hardened targets like deep underground bunkers. It was always thought that the Soviets developed their largest weapon (various reports put it at between 50 and 100 Megatons) purely because of needing something to take out Cheyenne Mountain.

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Megaton?

Your are behind the times, all warheads are tactical.

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