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The Military

Do Hypersonic Missiles Make Defense Systems Obsolete? 365

Posted by Soulskill
from the harder-better-faster-stronger dept.
An anonymous reader writes "The Diplomat's Zachary Keck wonders why the U.S. government is doubling down on missile defense systems even as hypersonic missiles threaten to render them obsolete. Keck notes that hypersonic missiles pose two distinct challenges to current missile defense systems. First, they travel far faster than the missiles the defense systems are designed to intercept. Second, they travel at lower altitudes and possess greater maneuverability than the missiles the current systems have been built to destroy. Nonetheless, the U.S. was planning on spending $2 billion a year on missile defense through 2017, and now the Pentagon is asking for an additional $4.5 billion over the next five years."
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Do Hypersonic Missiles Make Defense Systems Obsolete?

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  • by xevioso (598654) on Friday February 07, 2014 @02:14PM (#46187927)

    So maybe it's because a lot of people's jobs rest on these missile defense systems being implemented?

    Also, I am curious how hypersonic weapons will fare against a ship equipped with either a Gauss cannon, or more importantly, a laser. Wouldn't both of these be an adequate defense against a hypersonic missle, if implemented properly?

  • by phayes (202222) on Friday February 07, 2014 @02:19PM (#46188017) Homepage

    Add to that the targeting dilemma where missiles at that speed are practically blind. Hypervelocity missiles are good for "journalists" in order to sell paper but not so much against the US Navy.

  • by erroneus (253617) on Friday February 07, 2014 @02:22PM (#46188051) Homepage

    Experience in the US Navy here, specifically the targeting and tracking systems. But you don't have to know what I know to know what R2D2 with a hard-on does. It is missile defense and quite effective. It works by sending projectiles at the incoming missile to disrupt it.

    Anti-aircraft is a similar notion -- send up fireworks which spread particles into the air in front of aircraft and hope it interferes with the planes. A missile defense system doesn't "chase" missiles, it is launched in front of them. They then explode in front of them in hopes of disrupting them in some way. Advanced systems, in my mind, would be a CWIS at the end of a missile system. It's not hard to imagine.

  • by jklovanc (1603149) on Friday February 07, 2014 @02:38PM (#46188229)

    A missile that can handle the heat of hyper velocity can probably handle a laser hit. It is also difficult to track and lock on to an object moving that fast. A hyper velocity missile with a little software to jink around may be able to evade the laser.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 07, 2014 @02:58PM (#46188447)

    None.
    The air friction would kill the spores.

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