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 …

  1. Evil Auditor Silver badge

    "Happily no one was hurt"

    No dauntless playmonaut on board? No wonder it failed.

    1. Benchops

      Re: "Happily no one was hurt"

      "Happily no one was hurt"

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

      1. brooxta

        Re: "Happily no one was hurt"

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

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    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.

    1. Boris the Cockroach Silver badge
      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......

  3. Evil Auditor Silver badge

    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.

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      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.

      1. Bob Wheeler
        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 :(

        1. Anonymous Coward
          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.

          1. GitMeMyShootinIrons

            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).

        2. This post has been deleted by its author

        3. Marketing Hack Silver badge
          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)

          1. 2Fat2Bald

            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.

            1. toxicdragon

              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.

            2. strum

              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.

        4. Phil Endecott Silver badge

          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.

          1. Graham Marsden
            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"!

            1. Marketing Hack Silver badge
              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.

        5. Tom 13

          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.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      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.

    3. BlueGreen

      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.

    4. Voland's right hand Silver badge

      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...

  4. Pen-y-gors Silver badge

    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.

    1. tony

      Re: Why?

      It's in the article...

      "Both China and Russia are also developing these weapons"

      1. Tom 7 Silver badge

        Re: Why?

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

    2. dotdavid

      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!

    3. Christoph Silver badge
      Facepalm

      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.

      1. Frankee Llonnygog

        Re: Why?

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

      2. tommydokc
        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?

      3. noem
        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.

      4. Stoneshop Silver badge

        Re: Why?

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

        [citation needed]

    4. Mark 85 Silver badge

      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.

      1. Pen-y-gors Silver badge

        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.

        1. GitMeMyShootinIrons

          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.

          1. Christoph Silver badge

            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?

            1. Gary Bickford

              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.

            2. John Savard Silver badge

              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.)

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                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.

              2. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                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...

            3. Benjol

              Re: Why?

              You forgot torturing them.

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

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

        2. Trainee grumpy old ****
          Mushroom

          Re: Why?

          Roger Waters says it best:

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

    5. cray74

      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.

      1. Marketing Hack Silver badge

        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.

    6. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Why?

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

    7. Tom 13

      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.

    8. Triggerfish

      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.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    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...

    1. Eddy Ito Silver badge

      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.

      1. SteveK

        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.

      2. stucs201

        Re: Pasteurized before you see it

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

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Okay, I'm more than likely being thick here. Please can someone help me in understanding how this differs from a normal ICBM? I get that it flies lower and 'flatter' than an ICBM. However if it's launched using a rocket, I'm guessing the launch is detectable. That being the case, are the rooskies not going to think the balloon is going up? If I recall, the spooky thing about cruise missiles in the early 80's was that they would have been hard to detect lauching, and things would have probably started to be nuked before anyone had much of a clue what was happening. But surely this thing, with it's multiple stage rocket to get it going, would be detected?

    1. Tom 13

      @Hadvar

      IIRC detection has more to do with calculating the trajectory of the launch than detecting the launch itself. Not sure how the routing works these days, but at the height of the cold war, ICBMs were pretty much a straight parabolic path. If these things do anything to change that path they get tossed from the detection algorithm until it is rewritten. And rewriting it might cause other issues, especially if it looks more "civilian".

  7. Vladimir Plouzhnikov

    even a tomahawk can be loaded with a nuke.

    Otrageous! Who do they think they are, those iroquois, those apaches, comanches..? 'T was a wise man who said the only good indian is a... or, hold on a minute... just who's putting those nukes on those tomahawks?

    1. GitMeMyShootinIrons

      Re: even a tomahawk can be loaded with a nuke.

      Might make a good scalpin' a bit messy.

    2. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: even a tomahawk can be loaded with a nuke.

      Following the Washington Redskins losing their trademark because it was offensive the cruise missile system has now been renamed - "The first nation/indigenous people's cultural artifact thermonuclear delivery system"

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: even a tomahawk can be loaded with a nuke.

        The Redskins should keep the name, and change their logo to a potato.

        1. Tom 13

          Re: change their logo to a potato.

          Nah, even a sack of potatoes doesn't get beat up that badly.

    3. John Savard Silver badge

      Re: even a tomahawk can be loaded with a nuke.

      About the only nuke one could put on a real tomahawk would be one using Americum - you can make a bullet-sized A-bomb with that. Of course, there's a cruise missile called a Tomahawk, and that certainly could have a nuclear payload.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: even a tomahawk can be loaded with a nuke.

        Americium - the US spelling of aluminium doesn't cross over.

        I know the critical mass of americium is pretty small, but surely the resulting bomb is a bit bigger than a bullet? Does it need a gadget? And the enclosure has to be massive enough to allow the implosion pressure to build up. I thought the Davy Crockett projectile weighed about 35kg?

        So, terrorists, no nuclear weapon made from thousands of smoke detectors for you.

        1. Vladimir Plouzhnikov

          Re: even a tomahawk can be loaded with a nuke.

          "to allow the implosion pressure to build up"

          Surely, they can wrap it in tinfoil. The same one as they use for their hats will do nicely.

        2. Tom 7 Silver badge

          Re: even a tomahawk can be loaded with a nuke.

          re "implosion pressure": these things happen FAST - two subcritical hemispheres of uranium banged together by hand would make about 200 tons of TNT equivalent. Its basically the smallest nuke you can make - anything less would probably be a kinetic device.

          Not bad for ~10kg

  8. chr0m4t1c

    "Happily no one was hurt"

    Doesn't that slightly defeat the point of a weapon?

  9. Keven E.

    The only thing(s) you really need to test is the fresh launch processing *equipment, maybe some new fuel and the RC (lol) steering wheel of the weapon. All done within 4 seconds... Oh, and so *enemies can record it happening... just so they know where yall stand.

  10. Simon Harris Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    Thumbs up...

    for the sub-heading

  11. AsherGoldbergstein

    Have to keep that research money coming somehow.

  12. Marketing Hack Silver badge
    Go

    Ronald Reagan Ballistic Missile Defense Test Site?

    I think Reagan was the one really good president that I can remember, and he was a champion of missile defense, but this reminds me too much of the "Star Wars Peace Platform" in the original (and superior) Robocop movie.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Ronald Reagan Ballistic Missile Defense Test Site?

      Yes, Reagan made it possible for 100's of billions to be spent in various places around the U.S. that were/still are sites of SDI activity. SDI was an idea that was hard to disagree with, unless of course you were already experienced enough to know it would become just another money trough for the Congress and defense industry to feed from. "Weapons of Crap Construction" really does sum it all up. The F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program immediately comes to mind as a similar boondoggle begun under one administration (Clinton) and being perpetuated by its successors (Bush, Obama). Reagan actually followed that same pattern. Most of the advanced weapons systems his administration championed (the Stealth, M1 tank, Trident ballistic missile submarine, Pershing II intermediate ballistic missile) were actually developed and approved under Carter (a Navy guy who patrolled off North Korea in an attack sub at the beginning of the Cold War). All of them went way over budget and looking back didn't make the country any safer (what would that billions have done if invested in better health care, schools, civilian economic development, etc). Reagan's singular genius was summed up in the description of him as "the Teflon president". His ability to avoid responsibility for most of the wasteful, reckless and downright stupid things done at his direction ("Arms for Hostages", for example) is what really distinguishes him. Even if you're not a fan, though, the video (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DeX_Zews0Ts) of his testimony as a witness during the trial of one of the Iran-Contra defendants (former National Security Advisor Poindexter) is painful (and a little bit scary for what it implies about his fitness to command) to watch.

      1. Captain DaFt

        Re: Ronald Reagan Ballistic Missile Defense Test Site?

        Hey, at least under Reagan, We had a country tried and convicted of terrorist activities!

        Whoops! It was the USA!

        http://stoneagerefugee.wordpress.com/2010/12/25/the-u-s-is-the-only-country-in-the-world-to-be-convicted-in-the-world-court-of-terrorism-in-relation-to-mining-the-nicaraguan-harbor-noam-chomsky/

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Ronald Reagan Ballistic Missile Defense Test Site?

      If you remember Reagan as a good president, then you weren't really paying attention - he was good at playing the role of president, but the US nation debt went from $934 Billion to $2,698 Billion during his term of office (so much for fiscal conservatism!) and the US sowed many of the Middle-Eastern seeds that we are reaping today.

      After 25 years, it should be possible to take a step back and take a dispassionate look at Reagan's term in office, but he has become such an icon for the Republican party that it is not possible to do that - anyone who doesn't portray Reagan as an anointed saint will be ruthlessly attacked.

      1. John Savard Silver badge

        Re: Ronald Reagan Ballistic Missile Defense Test Site?

        Well, Ronald Reagan brought about the collapse of the evil Soviet Union. Unfortunately, subsequent Presidents didn't work out a deal with Boris Yeltsin where the U.S. would inject cash into Russia to undo the collapse of its economy... in return for Russia giving up all its nuclear weapons,.

        Then Vladimir Putin could have been dealt with in the same manner as Saddam Hussein - by regime change, and Georgia and the Ukraine would have been safe from aggression.

      2. Marketing Hack Silver badge

        Re: Ronald Reagan Ballistic Missile Defense Test Site?

        @Anonymous Coward

        I'm not a Republican. However, Reagan did what he set out to do, defeat the Soviet Union. Amazingly enough, that was a really good thing for humanity, as just about any el Reg commentard from East of Vienna and Denmark will tell you. I'm not saying he was perfect, but growing up in the U.S. during the late 70s, I can assure you that Ronald Reagan really changed things in the U.S., and for the better.

        As for the Middle East, Reagan did no worse than any other President in handling that geographic poisoned chalice. The real problem with the Middle East goes back to dysfunctional local politics/tensions, and the descisions made by France and Britain following WW1.

      3. Tom 13

        Re: After 25 years, it should be possible to take a step back and take a dispassionate look

        It should. But your leftist rantings will never cease.

        When Ronald Reagan came into office the world was facing a financial crisis not unlike the one the Democrats caused as W was leaving office. The military was in tatters with US diplomats having been held for 444 days after Carter, following the same feckless plan The Big 0 implemented in Egypt, Libya, Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan withdrew US support for the Shah. The USSR was advancing on all fronts.

        Reagan left office having implemented the largest peacetime economic recovery in the history of the world. One that lasted so long and withstood so many attempts to undermine that ideologues like you to this day insist of transferring credit from him to Clinton. He did this by lowering the marginal tax rates, and indexing them to inflation. Thus fixing a permanent notion that future tax rates would be lower than they were when he came into office.

        He didn't overspend, Tip O'Neill the Democrat in charge of the House did. The Executive branch of the US government cannot originate fiscal legislation. And every budget proposal Reagan and his staff submitted to O'Neill was declared DOA before it even left his desk.

        Those are the real facts no matter how much it may stick in your craw.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: After 25 years, it should be possible to take a step back and take a dispassionate look

          So on the one hand, Reagan defeated the Soviets by ramping up spending on SDI to such an extent that the USSR couldn't keep up, but on the other hand, Reagan had zero responsibility for any "bad" spending, that was all Tip O'Neill and the Democrats fault. And, of course, it was a "peacetime economic recovery" even though that (deficit) spending on SDI was at least partially responsible.

          The USSR was already moribund when Reagan was elected, and the election of Pope John Paul II and the subsequent rise of Solidarity in Poland, and the presence of Gorbachev in the USSR were at least as significant as Reagan's SDI spending - the reality is that US funding and arming the Mujahideen in Afghanistan made far more difference to the collapse of the USSR than did "clean" SDI spending, but that doesn't suit the legend quite so well.

          The notion that Reagan could be responsible for "the largest peacetime economic recovery in the history of the world" and "winning the cold war" at exactly the same time sums up Republican attitudes to Reagan.

  13. Gene Cash Silver badge
    Mushroom

    Man, it was a shite weekend for space...

    Between this, the SpaceX test Falcon going boom, and the 2 navsats in the wrong orbit, it's pretty rough.

    I'm crossing my fingers for Rosetta.

  14. Rick Brasche

    to be expected

    you can't make an omelette without breaking a few sound barriers. or rockets.

    Hypersonics is hard. So is air at that speed. It's like designing a car to reach 100mph, much easier for the first hundred than the second.

    as speeds go up each incremental boost is exponentially tougher.

    1. Marketing Hack Silver badge
      Mushroom

      Re: to be expected

      Sounds in this case like the Air Force had a booster failure. That happens, but its much more basic than having the craft disintegrate 4 seconds into its hypersonic flight. The launch vehicle probably never reached 300 mph off the pad before it exploded.

  15. Toastan Buttar

    Anywhere in the world within 60 minutes?

    OK, so top flight speed is Mach 6 which is ~3600 mph.

    Radius of the Earth is ~4000 miles.

    That means that even flat out, it could only reach under one radian of the Earth's surface from launch point within an hour (60 minutes in the old money). That leaves over 2/3rds of the Earth's surface unreachable within 60 minutes, doesn't it?

    Unless you know different?

    1. gerdesj Silver badge

      Re: Anywhere in the world within 60 minutes?

      Mach 6 at what height?

      You can have more than one launcher.

      1. Toastan Buttar

        Re: Anywhere in the world within 60 minutes?

        "You can have more than one launcher."

        I could deploy an army of thermonuclear snails at 10 feet intervals throughout the world and reach anywhere within an hour by the same logic.

        1. Robin Bradshaw

          Re: Anywhere in the world within 60 minutes?

          You jest about thermonuclear snails but the UK considered nuclear chickens at one point ::)

          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blue_Peacock

  16. roger stillick
    Black Helicopters

    All versions of the US Tomahawk Cruise Missile do 550 mph,

    Russia, China, India, France, and United Kingdom all have deployed 3000 mph or above Cruise Missiles, the US features other types of smart weapons, and, found in Gulf War 1 when multiple targets get destroyed, the Tomahawk simple guidence system gets confused...terrain matching doesn't work if the terrain is missing...

    Supersonic Cruise was developed by DARPA with help from NASA resulting in the present crop of military jet war fighters...all with up to date command and control communications, all countries now build Supersonic Cruise if they want to...

    2 years ago DARPA wanted NASA to do a mulligan on flight from velocities from mach 2 to Earth escape velocity... seems the X-plane program was an engineering WAG in most cases, with flight sucess being blind luck as the math and computers available could not actually model the flight, so they just flew it and hoped for the best...Hypersonic cruise involves an external combustion propulsion engine and a vehicle flying in a plasma cloud to allow electro static force flight control surfaces...

    IMHO= we are going to break a lot of things, and have many documented failures, and when we get it finally right, Boeing will be buillding space ships that can cheaply fly up to what ever is up there...RS.

    Blackhawk Copter cuz they are guarding the Tomahawks we actually use on bad folks= at 550 mph...

  17. Faux Science Slayer

    Tomahawk Nuke ? ? ? That's NOTHING ! ! !

    The Hiroshima "Little Boy" weighted 9,700 pounds, was 10 ft long and 28" in diameter....

    by 1963 the US destructive genius had created the W-48, 155 mm (6.1") Howitzer round....

    now they've miniaturized nukes to hand grenade size....and used them clandestinely....

    see...."VT Flexing It's Nuclear Muscle" at Veterans Today....end feudalism....

  18. Fredrick Smith

    Time Zone

    Why give the time in EDT?

  19. fpx
    Facepalm

    Pretty Pointless

    I guess I don't understand this military logic how an ICBM launch would start a war, but a hypersonic missile would not. Or what difference it makes if you can strike anywhere in 60 minutes rather than a few hours flight time for a subsonic cruise missile. Or why some third country would care less about their airspace being violated by a hypersonic projectile than either a ballistic or a cruise missile. And for most "interesting" areas in the world, the US already has a carrier close by and can strike in much less than 60 minutes.

    Never mind that unless you are delivering thousands of nukes in a first strike, any country will have plenty opportunity to determine where the thing was coming from and respond.

    Other than that, hypersonic is cool, tell me more!

  20. Jonathan Richards 1
    Mushroom

    > even a [T]omahawk can be loaded with a nuke

    You can make a fairly formidable nuclear weapon considerably smaller than a Tomahawk payload. In the sixties there were nuclear artillery shells for 155mm guns designed for *tactical* battlefield use. I don't think current western military doctrine involves the use of such, but eastern nuclear powers still have them.

  21. malcontent

    how big is the Earth?

    The circumference of the Earth is about 25,000 miles; this gadget is supposed to reach about 3,600mph. How does it reach anywhere on the globe within 60 minutes? Did I put a decimal point in the wrong place?

  22. JCitizen
    Holmes

    Only reasoning..

    if you can call it reasoning, I can see for this "aero spike" engine that powers this thing, is to eventually put in on interceptors so we have a human being making the decision instead of a brainless ICBM. Once the pilot reaches the target he can push the button or not. I think this is better than using a missile triad concept, but who am I?

    It really has more use as a new way to get passengers all over the world in record time, and less fuel. Plus it uses hydrogen, if I remember correctly, and that is better than smelly JP6 in the stratosphere any day.

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re. Only reasoning..

    Wasn't the original plan to have this launched FROM a stealth bomber, the idea being that the range of Mr Hypersonic Death Dealing Ubermissile would be extended by several thousand km ?

    Also this would be an ideal application for the SR72, this was intended to be a Mach 6+ Interceptor but the main problem is using up fuel incredibly fast.

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