Feeds

Experimental hypersonic SUPERMISSILE destroyed 4 SECONDS after US launched it

Weapons of crap construction?

Intelligent flash storage arrays

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 minutes.

But military bods were forced to press the self-destruct button just a few seconds after it blasted off from the Kodiak Launch Complex in Alaska, which is about 40km (25 miles) from the town of Kodiak.

Happily no one was hurt, but there was some damage at the test facility, although it is unclear how much destruction it caused.

Witnesses saw the rocket launch at about 4:00 EDT (0800 GMT) and then explode in a brilliant ball of light just seconds later.

Maureen Schumann, a spokeswoman for the US Defense Department, said in a statement: "The weapon exploded during takeoff and fell back down in the range complex.

"It came back down on the range complex. Fortunately, no people on the ground were injured. There was damage, but I'm not sure of the extent of it at this time."

The Reg previously covered the test of a hypersonic missile back in 2011, which seemed to go a little better.

On that happier occasion, the AHW took off from the island of Kauai and splashed down close to its target coordinates, some 2,400 miles away at the Ronald Reagan Ballistic Missile Defense Test Site on Kwajalein Atoll.

The AHW is a so-called "boost and glide" weapon, a missile that zooms into the atmosphere before gliding downwards at hypersonic speeds. Both China and Russia are also developing these weapons, which could potentially bypass missile defences.

Of course, this might be done using an intercontinental ballistic missile, but these traditional weapons have a habit of making nations think a nuclear war has begun - whereupon Armageddon might actually begin. Of course, using any sort of weapon could also spark nuclear war, because even a tomahawk can be loaded with a nuke.

There are also nicer uses for a boost-glide machine, a fact ably demonstrated by the space shuttle. Dare we hope that the American military industrial complex's latest wheeze helps humanity spend more time in space? Or is it just another hideously expensive way of helping humanity get off the planet in a more destructive manner? ®

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk

More from The Register

next story
GRAV WAVE DRAMA: 'Big Bang echo' may have been grit on the scanner – boffins
Exit Planet Dust on faster-than-light expansion of universe
SpaceX Dragon cargo truck flies 3D printer to ISS: Clawdown in 3, 2...
Craft berths at space station with supplies, experiments, toys
That glass of water you just drank? It was OLDER than the SUN
One MEELLION years older. Some of it anyway
NASA rover Curiosity drills HOLE in MARS 'GOLF COURSE'
Joins 'traffic light' and perfect stony sphere on the Red Planet
Big dinosaur wowed females with its ENORMOUS HOOTER
That's right, Doris, I've got biggest snout in the prehistoric world
Japanese volcano eruption reportedly leaves 31 people presumed dead
Hopes fade of finding survivors on Mount Ontake
Relive the death of Earth over and over again in Extinction Game
Apocalypse now, and tomorrow, and the next day, and the day after that ...
prev story

Whitepapers

A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Beginner's guide to SSL certificates
De-mystify the technology involved and give you the information you need to make the best decision when considering your online security options.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.