File photo: A photo of Scott Wight shows the horizon from Cape Greville in Chiniak, Alaska, after a rocket carrying an experimental Army strike weapon exploded after taking off from a starting point in Alaska. (AP Photo/Scott Wight)
(AP Photo/Scott Wight)
The air force is taking a next step in an ambitious plan to do a prototype, test and deploy hypersonic weapons on an accelerated schedule — to defend against enemy attacks by fast-tracking a possibility to start with a high-impact, high-speed attacks to Run. 5 – five times the speed of sound.
“We would like all the resources that we can build in the kill chain to hit a target or hold the risk with hypersonic weapons,” Gen . Timothy Ray, Air Force Global Strike Command, said at the Air Force Association Air, Space and Cyber Conference.
The service recently awarded a second part of Lockheed to accelerate prototyping of a hypersonic weapon, called the “Air Launched Rocket Reaction Weapon,” Air Force news reported.
The effort consists of two separated pathways, including the Air-Launched Quick Reaction Weapon-speed Conventional strike Weapon. The air force has now awarded developmental deals for both systems to Lockheed.
The most recent award was cited recently in the “Around the Air Force” new report, which said that the air force Secretary Heather Wilson is “moving as quickly as possible” when it comes to hypersonic weapons.
Recent thinking of senior Air Force weapons developers had held that US hypersonic weapons could first be operational by early 2020. Hypersonic drones for attack, or ISR missions, by extension, were thought to be on the track to come in the 2030s and 2040s, senior service officials have told Warrior Maven.
Now, these aggressive new Air Force hypersonic weapons prototyping and demonstration effort is expected to change this time frame in a substantial way.
A “boost ” glide” hypersonic weapon is one that is flying on a rising trend in the atmosphere of the earth for the use of the speed of descent to hit and destroy targets, senior officials said.
The Hypersonic Conventional strike Weapon effort involves using technologies that have not yet been integrated, for the air-launched delivery, an air force spokeswoman told the Warrior Maven earlier this year.
Senior Air Force weapons developers have stated the justification in terms of not waiting many years for a “100 percent” solution if you have a very impressive “90 percent” solution can be much faster.
Often referred to as “agile acquisition” by Air Force senior leaders, to include service Secretary Heather Wilson, soon to be followed procurement activities, search faster running of the new software improvements, innovations and promising combat technologies likely to have considerable short term impact. During the multi-year development programs are not disappear, the idea is to bypass some of the more bureaucratic and cumbersome elements of the acquisition process.
A weapon traveling at hypersonic speeds, of course, would be better able to offensive missile strikes to destroy targets and hostile ships, buildings, anti-aircraft, and even drones and fixed-wing aircraft, depending on the guidance technology available.
An important part of this is the fact that the weapons travel at hypersonic speeds would have serious complications for the victims in the hope to defend himself against them – they would only have a few seconds to respond or defend against an oncoming or incoming attack.
In fact, while the stress of the current Air Force push for the super fast weapons, Ray raised this specific concern.
“The challenge is your ability to defend against hypersonic weapons – they are not easy to defend,” Ray told the audience at the AFA Conference.
Along these lines, the advent of high-speed weapons is a major reason why some ask questions about the future of the survival of the large platforms such as aircraft carriers. How are ship-based sensors, radar and multi-layered defense expected to succeed in detecting, tracking and intercepting or destroying an approaching hypersonic weapon travels five times the speed of sound?
Hypersonic weapons will very likely be designed as “kinetic energy strike weapons, which means that they do not use explosives, but rely on pure speed and the force of the impact to destroy targets, developers explain.
A super high-speed drone or ISR platform more capable air vehicles to quickly enter and exit enemy territory and send back relevant images without being detected by enemy radar or shot down.
Although potential defensive uses for hypersonic weapons, interceptors or vehicles are in any case outside the domain of consideration, that the principle effort at the moment is the engineer offensive weapons to quickly destroy enemy targets at great distances.
Scientists explain that the speed of sound can vary, depending on the height; on the ground floor is approximately 1,100 feet per second. Accordingly, if a weapon is designed with 2,000 seconds of fuel it can travel more than 2000 km to a goal, a senior Air Force scientist told the Warrior in a previous interview.
These super-fast weapons acceleration takes place within a high-threat to global environment. Both Russia and China are visible run of hypersonic weapons test, causing some to ask the question whether the US could be behind main rivals in this area.
A report in Popular Mechanics sites Chinese state media have announced a successful test of a new “wave-rider hypersonic vehicle.
“The hypersonic vehicle separate from the booster rocket flew for 400 seconds, reaching a maximum speed of Mach 5.5 to 6 ( 4,200 to 4,600 miles / hour) and reach an altitude of 100,000 feet,” the report says.
Also, there is a report in The Diplomat earlier this year, outlines of Chinese DF-17 super-fast missile test in November of last year.
In an essay from earlier this year with the title “Hypersonic Missiles: A New Proliferation Challenge,” Rand researcher Richard Speier further indicates the severity of the super-fast missile threats.
“They are able to evade and hide their precise goals of the defense to just a few seconds before the impact. This allows targeted states with almost no time to react…..Hypersonic missiles a reconsideration of the traditional second-strike calculations, as they have the potential to decapitate a nation’s leadership before it has a chance to launch a counter-attack,” Speier writes.
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