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back to article Experimental hypersonic SUPERMISSILE destroyed 4 SECONDS after US launched it

The US military has been forced to destroy a top secret hypersonic weapon just four seconds after its test flight begun. The Advanced Hypersonic Weapon (AHW) is designed to reach Mach 6 – or six times the speed of sound (about 5,795kmph or 3,600mph) – and allow the US to strike a target anywhere in the world in less than 60 …

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"Happily no one was hurt"

No dauntless playmonaut on board? No wonder it failed.

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Re: "Happily no one was hurt"

"Happily no one was hurt"

Did anyone else read that in a Liverpudlian Ringo Starr accent?

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Re: "Happily no one was hurt"

Maybe the American military-industrial complex relocated the Island Of Sodor to Alaska?

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I for one welcome out new cockroach overlords

They're all clustered in a huge cave somewhere while the head cockroach is telling them to prepare for world domination after the human race has killed itself off.

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Happy

Re: I for one welcome out new cockroach overlords

Its only a matter of time as I tell my 3*10^8 children at bedtime......

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Re "which could potentially bypass missile defences"

On a more serious note, I'd say it could potentially bypass today's missile defences. Once such weapons become feasible surely the development of defence systems wouldn't stagnate.

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Re: Re "which could potentially bypass missile defences"

If it did truly defeat anti-missile defences the only logical option would be to launch all your own missiles the day before it became operational.

That's why star wars was so destabilising - if it really made your own deterrent non-deterring then it automatically starts a war.

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Mushroom

Re: Re "which could potentially bypass missile defences"

From the article, it said that this missle would take 60 minutes to get to where it's pointed at.

The problem with this, is that it only gives the other side (whoever the 'other side; is) 60 minutes reaction time, that it spot the launch, decide if it is coming their way, decide if it is an attack, decide if they should launch their slower(!) missles.

Not a lot of time to make your mind up :(

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Defensive wording

"...could potentially bypass..."

Do you think there are enough qualifiers in there? I could potentially become President of the USA, if I could convince them I was born there. Ukraine could potentially become the 51st state of the USA. This whole universe could potentially be nothing more than a dream. And as many as one of the things advertised on commercial TV could potentially do what it's cracked up to.

Or not.

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Mushroom

Re: Re "which could potentially bypass missile defences"

Slower?

Check out the DF-21D.

Reported speeds of Mach 10, so in theory, US could launch, China then can respond and hit the US target before the US hits them*

*range is *only* 1500km to 2700km dependant on who you believe.

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Mushroom

Re: Re "which could potentially bypass missile defences"

During the Cold War, between detection and confirmation of a large-scale Soviet launch and when that strike would land in the U.S., the time for the U.S. President to make up his mind was about 10-15 minutes. If you were the French President or the British PM, you had even less time to figure out what to do with your deterrent before the missiles started plopping down on top of the Eifel Tower or Trafalgar Square.

(Having lived through that, I much prefer dealing with our modern-day crazy Islamic nutbags)

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Re: Re "which could potentially bypass missile defences"

The DF-21 is an old skool MRBM, similar to the old Pershing missiles of old. Being ballistic, those sort of speeds aren't unusual (the Pershing could do Mach 9).

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Re: Re "which could potentially bypass missile defences"

> Not a lot of time to make your mind up :(

Read "The Dead Hand" by David E Hoffman. The Soviet military were concerned that their political leaders would be too slow to make a retaliatory decision, so they built a "dead hand" system that would automatically launch their missiles if they didn't get a command not to do so.

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Re: Re "which could potentially bypass missile defences" @Evil Auditor

It's very, very hard to defend against incoming missiles. They are very fast, fairly robust (necessarily to re-enter the atmosphere at speed) hard to impossible to distinguish from decoys, and cheap (cheap, compared to a city they're pointed at). It only takes one to get through. You're looking for a technical solution to a non-technical problem.

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Re: Re "which could potentially bypass missile defences"

On a more serious note, I'd say it could potentially bypass today's missile defences.

Today - yes, yesterdays' - no. I love the smell of hypervelocity missiles encountering a baloon barrage early in the morning. It smells... it smells... like burning money...

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Mushroom

@Phil Endecott - Re: Re "which could potentially bypass missile defences"

> Read "The Dead Hand" by David E Hoffman.

Watch "Dr Strangelove - Or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love The Bomb"!

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Mushroom

Re: @Phil Endecott - Re "which could potentially bypass missile defences"

Or the original "Failsafe" if the servers offering up Dr. Strangelove are maxed out.

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Re: Re "which could potentially bypass missile defences"

I think it was about a 4-minute warning for the UK. I was never very sure what we were supposed to do during those four minutes. I know I was asked what i'd like into our fallout shelter once, and I chose my Sinclair Spectrum. I don't think it percolated my eight-year-old brain that I wouldn't be popping to WH Smiths for a copy of 3D tunnel after the bombs dropped. And fact I wouldn't be plugging the computer in. In fact it probably wouldn't even work, even if you DID manage to plug it in.

My sister chose the family cat. Very humanitarian, and potentially very sensible from a provisions point-of-view. Although she's a vegetarian herself. She declared her bedroom a nuclear-free zone shortly afterwards, which would have severly skuppered the USSR's plans for dominating rural Oxfordshire. Or not.

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Re: 60 minutes reaction time

Military protocols are written to make that decision in under 10 minutes, in fact under 6 IIRC. Because that's how long it would take a submarine launched ballistic missile to reach the US capital if launched from just outside the national waters boundary line.

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Re: Re "which could potentially bypass missile defences"

what to do in the four minute warning. Thats easy find the nearest bar and the nearest person of preferred gender, if I am going to get turned to radioactive dust clouds I may as well go happy.

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I was never very sure what we were supposed to do during those four minutes

"Some people, in this great country of ours, can run a mile in four minutes." Alan Bennett, Beyond the Fringe.

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Why?

Why do they need the ability to kill innocent people anywhere on the planet within 60 mins? Surely their existing capabilities are more than sufficient? Perhaps if they spent the billions (hundreds of billions?) that this is costing on delivering aid to people anywhere on the planet in 60 hours they would have a few more friends and a few less enemies.

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Re: Why?

It's in the article...

"Both China and Russia are also developing these weapons"

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Re: Why?

"Why do they need the ability to kill innocent people anywhere on the planet within 60 mins? Surely their existing capabilities are more than sufficient? Perhaps if they spent the billions (hundreds of billions?) that this is costing on delivering aid to people anywhere on the planet in 60 hours they would have a few more friends and a few less enemies."

There are lots of civilian applications of military technology. For example we could subsequently develop a non-weaponised version which could be used to deliver aid anywhere on the planet within 60 minutes (it can even handily cook any raw food through air friction as it hurtles through the air).

Then Amazon could use it as a Prime delivery option so you can target send packages to anyone in the world!

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Re: Why?

They have this dream of being able to press a button and kill anyone they have taken a dislike to, with zero risk to their own people. An ultimate military fantasy where nobody can challenge them in any way without being eliminated on the spot.

And yet they still also fantasise about being the world's greatest democracy.

If they did have such a weapon it would of course rot away their remaining morality, ethics, and credibility.

It would also mean that the only way to respond to them (other than the total abject surrender of the rest of the human race) would be 'terrorist' attacks - the very thing it's supposed to defend against.

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Re: Why?

Define "innocent"? There are groups out there that not only want to kill US people, but Brits, Russians, etc. Then as pointed out by another.. there's Russia and China developing WMD's and delivery systems. There's a lot more potential for peaceful uses than military. If we look at the history of rocketry in general, they were first developed by the military. Now they're very common for peaceful purposes. Much military developed items such as Kevlar, carbon fiber, jet engines, etc end up many peaceful purposes.

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Re: Why?

Governments won't be happy until we're all fitted with a kill chip at birth

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Coat

Re: Why?

Our government, as well as a large part of the southern demographic, still has morality, ethics and credibility? hmm. who'd a thunk it?

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Re: Why?

@Mark 85

"Define "innocent"?"

People happily going around minding their own business, working in their fields, going to school, shopping in the market, attending a wedding - when a rocket from a US drone or aircraft abruptly draws their activity to a permanent close, or at least means they have to do it in future without the help of legs.

The US military do have a rather bad record with this you know, and being able to do it at 3600 mph is unlikely to improve their targetting accuracy.

But to be fair, we don't really want anyone else doing this sort of thing either - I suspect the average peasant who's just been blown into the next world isn't too fussed who fired the missile.

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Re: Why?

"...shopping in the market, attending a wedding - when a rocket from a US drone or aircraft "

Substitute (insert religious/ political belief) fanatic with a bag of semtex/cylinder of nerve gas/lethal bio agent.

Doesn't need super-tech to cause death and destruction.

What a wonderful world.

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Re: Why?

Didnt the Aussies do some good work with these until the USA 'offered' them unlimited supplies of analease?

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Re: Why?

"Substitute (insert religious/ political belief) fanatic with a bag of semtex/cylinder of nerve gas/lethal bio agent."

The overwhelming majority aren't doing that just to be evil and nasty. They're doing it because we keep bombing them. Invading them. Killing them. Robbing them. Destroying their countries and their culture. Imposing puppet dictators. All in the name of defending Democracy (and making a nice profit while doing so).

Maybe if we stopped killing them they wouldn't be so keen to kill us?

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Mushroom

Re: Why?

Roger Waters says it best:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rekuWIKr55A

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Re: Why?

A bit of historical background: Back when the US was very young, Thomas Jefferson sent an emissary to the Sultan or whatever who ran what we now call Libya at the time, to ask him why his Barbary Coast pirates persisted in piracy, kidnapping Americans and holding them for ransom. The Sultan replied, "According to the Koran, we are instructed to kill all infidels. The fact that we provide an opportunity to ransom them is just a friendly gesture on our part."

Thomas Jefferson continued to pay off the Sultan for a couple of years, while he proceeded to build the first US Naval and Marine forces. Thus the Marine Hymn, "From the halls of Montezuma, to the shores of Tripoli."

To my knowledge, prior to that time, we in the US had never bombed, harassed, or otherwise had anything to do with the Sultan or any of his ilk. Please explain how your reasoning applies.

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Re: Why?

Actually, they're mad at us because we keep Israel in existence. Which is a violation of God's eternal plan, under which the Jews should be under Muslim rule, so that, like Coptic Christians in Egypt, their daughters could be raped by members of the Muslim community without recourse at will. It is a violation of the Pact of Umar, the condition under which their lives were spared, to attempt to use this as an excuse for rebelling against Muslim rule.

Take a look at Boko Haram and the Christian girls it kidnapped in Nigeria, or Islamic State and the Yezidis.

So the U.S. is not, and never has been, the aggressor in this situation. Not even the Crusades were pure aggression, because Islamic forces attacked Europe decades before the First Crusade. (However, the Crusades were an unwarranted attack launched after peace had been achieved.)

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Re: Why?

Not even the Crusades were pure aggression

Really? You need some less brainwashed history sources, like ones which describes in proper detail crusade no 4 where the crusaders took a detour and had some fun with the fellow Christian state of Visantium, putting the fellow Christian city of Constantinopolis to the torch.

As far as US not being an agressor, sure, not direct. Always by proxy at first. You have to have a casus belli before ordering the bombers in. During the Balkan wars we knew down to the week when the next conflict will erupt and when the next massacre will be. One week after the CNN team lands. By the minute more or less.

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Re: Why?

"Why do they need the ability to kill innocent people anywhere on the planet within 60 mins?"

Trick question. They're interested in the ability to kill guilty people anywhere on the planet within 60 minutes, and they gotta keep up with the Lees. There's a hypersonic weapons gap with China, you know.

"Perhaps if they spent the billions (hundreds of billions?) that this is costing on delivering aid to people anywhere on the planet in 60 hours they would have a few more friends and a few less enemies."

The US foreign aid budget averages about $50 billion a year, not counting private donations (another $38 billion). In either case and in total the US is the world leader in aid by dollar value. Meanwhile, the US Army's Advanced Hypersonic Weapon budget was $70.7 million for 2015 (only secured by China's January 2014 hypersonic weapon test), or 0.14% of the US federal foreign aid budget.

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Re: Why?

Countries need militaries, there really isn't much of a way around it. Especially trading nations (like most of Europe) or nations that like to profess international good behavior (like most of Europe).

A hypersonic missile is not immoral, though it can be used in immoral ways. The same is true of any weapons system. I know for a fact that lots of medieval knights thought that bowman were immoral because they fought at a distance.

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Happy

Re: Why?

I'm certain similar statements were made around the advent of atomic weaponry. The raw power of such a weapon as the world had never seen; used only twice and inspiring a forced "peace" through unimpeachable tyranny and terror for more than half a century. However, once the box was opened it allowed us to harness the power of the atom and propel our understanding of the universe to new heights.

Ultimately knowledge is neither good nor evil. I tend to be more hopeful, and see the hypersonic tech transferring to efficient global transport, bringing every one closer together. The internet (also a military project) allows our thoughts to traverse vast distances in an instant. Here's to hoping that hypersonic tech removes the physical barriers.

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Re: Why?

Because its a cheaper defense than paying for masses of conventional armed forces worldwide. Ie people.

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Re: Why?

'terrorist' attacks - the very thing it's supposed to defend against.

[citation needed]

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Re: Why?

You forgot torturing them.

http://detaineetaskforce.org/resources/timeline/

http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2009/04/20/torture-doesnt-work.html

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Re: Why?

"Actually, they're mad at us because we keep Israel in existence. Which is a violation of God's eternal plan, under which the Jews should be under Muslim rule"

Historically it has rather more to do with Israel being a terrorist state that was created by force and has dispossesed a lot of Muslims (and plenty of Christians) and continues an illegal policy of settlement building combined with a consistent ongoing record of genocide and war crimes...

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Re:they would have a few more friends and a few less enemies.

We tried that back in the 60s. Contrary to popular opinion, the reverse turns out to be true.

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Re: Why?

Because someone at military industrial complex marketing convinced them that ICBM was just so passe, and that hypervelocity kill weapon was what all the cool kids are saying/ playing with now.

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Pasteurized before you see it

"The US military has been forced to destroy a top secret hypersonic weapon just four seconds after its test flight begun".

By which time it was one-third of the way round the world...

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Re: Pasteurized before you see it

Actually, if it was going 3600 mph it would have been four miles away. Must have been a hell of a bang to cause damage to the launch facility.

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Re: Pasteurized before you see it

Yes, but by the sound of it, that was four miles away vertically. Then after it went bang, gravity stopped looking the other way.

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Re: Pasteurized before you see it

Assuming linear acceleration from zero to 3600mph in 4 seconds it would have been 2 miles away.

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