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The Military China

The US And Australia Are Testing Hypersonic Missiles (engadget.com) 100

schwit1 quotes Engadget: Both the U.S. and Australia have confirmed that they recently completed a series of mysterious hypersonic missile tests. All the countries will say is that the flights were successful, and that they represented "significant milestones" in testing everything from the design assembly to the control mechanisms. They won't even say which vehicles were used or how quickly they traveled, although past tests have usually relied on Terrier Orion rockets and have reached speeds as high as Mach 8.

The tests are part of the long-running HIFiRE (Hypersonic International Flight Research Experimentation) program, whose first launch took place way back in 2009. They should help bring hypersonic flight to a "range of applications," according to HIFiRE partner BAE. That could easily include ultra-fast aircraft, but it's widely believed the focus here is on missiles and similar unmanned weapons. A hypersonic missile would fulfill the US military's goal of building a conventional weapon that can strike anywhere within an hour, and it would be virtually impossible to stop using existing missile defenses. In theory, enemy nations wouldn't dare attack if they knew they'd face certain retaliation within minutes.

Originally NASA was involved in the project, which has been ongoing for more than eight years. But it's timeline may have shortened after reports that foreign powers including Russia and China are already building their own hypersonic missiles.
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The US And Australia Are Testing Hypersonic Missiles

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  • You see, it's reported that Russia has already tested [washingtontimes.com] such a missile.

    In fact, the Russians claim that because of the missile they tested, our missile defenses are already obsolete.

    That doesn't mean we were completely safe before this missile.

    • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

      Russia has already announced the roll out of hypersonic missiles on ships.

      • by hey! ( 33014 )

        Which in a sense isn't such a big deal. Yes, it may go at hypersonic speeds, but the fact that it's deployed to ships means it's not really the same thing at all.

        What where talking about is something that could be fired from the US mainland and hit any place on the Earth in under an hour. Such a weapon has profound political implications; it removes the single biggest political risk involved with the use of force: putting the men and women who wield that force in harm's way.

        Basically the US president will

        • You could high tech this today with an XB-37 launch and some 'rods from God'. Throwing rocks from the high ground has worked for a long, long time. GPS helps.

          We could low tech the problem and toast 'Lil Kim and his barber with a boring old 1 million dollar cruise missile. As usual, the political ramifications of doing so, tend to er, Trump, the straight military application of force.

    • You see, it's reported

      Reports are just international power masturbation. They have no relevance into how far anyone is in any program. Both sides have been working on hyper-sonic missiles for 10 years already. How far along either side is is known only to a select few with just enough information in the media to let either side know the other side thinks its ahead.

      Except for the Russians, because Trump wouldn't keep secrets from his BFF Putin.

      • by rtb61 ( 674572 )

        Well, it you really want total planetary extermination. How about energy targeted some of the key essential molecular structures of life, where a minor exteneded disruption will terminate all cellular life, think of something simmilar to the microwave and it's transfer of energy into water. So pick the right frequency and type and you could sweep a city from orbit exterminating all life, not just people but all of it. Be the first and wont you be a fucking champion. Keep trying to kill each other and it is

  • In theory, enemy nations wouldn't dare attack if they knew they'd face certain retaliation within minutes.

    LOL-tech solution:

    Step 1: Frame an enemy.

    Step 2: Open bag of popcorn.

    Step 3: Enjoy the show.

  • "[I]t would be virtually impossible to stop using existing missile defenses." I thought I read recently that the U.S. just deployed a new laser weapon that could shoot down missiles.

    1. Would this be a defense against hypersonic missiles?
    2. Does anybody know if it was developed as a defense against hypersonic missiles?

    • Lasers are faster than missiles, but can a laser tracking system successfully track a hypersonic missile and deliver enough energy to stop it?

      • I'd say the front of a hypersonic missile is probably pushing the limits of thermal protection and a laser wont have much work to do to make it burn up
        • by fnj ( 64210 )

          Are you sure shining a laser on something already designed to withstand unthinkable heat wouldn't be more like threatening the devil with a match?

          • by Agripa ( 139780 )

            Are you sure shining a laser on something already designed to withstand unthinkable heat wouldn't be more like threatening the devil with a match?

            That would be the case for an ballistic reentry vehicle or a hypersonic cruise missile relying on satellite and inertial navigation but ships move. How does terminal guidance on a hypersonic missile work? The forward surfaces have to be both heat resistant and permeable to whatever sensor is used. The front cannot be just a titanium dart.

            Further you can count on laser power to increase significantly once this sort of anti-missile defense is deemed necessary now that a low power version is being tested in

        • I'd agree - the Air Force's experimental scramjet aircraft has had a lot of problems with that in the past, to the point where it's slammed into the ocean most of the time due to the shielding heating up and expanding in unexpected ways, changing the airflow and making it lose control. At that point, as long as the laser can get line-of-sight on the target fast enough, and deliver enough power so that it heats up and crashes before it reaches the target, you should be okay. Your targeting systems have to be
      • by Anonymous Coward

        can a laser tracking system successfully track a hypersonic missile and deliver enough energy to stop it?

        Even if it can, it cannot do that for many at once, so some will always get through.

        • by PPH ( 736903 )

          If N Mach 8 hypersonic missiles can overwhelm a laser defense, then 10*N Mach 0.8 missiles can do so as well.

    • The published articles I've read have all indicated that it might be capable of working as a missile defense system but that the military had not commented on that. The problem with using it for that purpose is going to be speed of target acquisition and engagement. When faced with a missile moving at such high mach speeds there simply isn't likely to be time to fire more than once or twice given the distance to the horizon, and that is ignoring whatever the engagement range actually is on the laser and tar

    • "[I]t would be virtually impossible to stop using existing missile defenses." I thought I read recently that the U.S. just deployed a new laser weapon that could shoot down missiles.

      1. Would this be a defense against hypersonic missiles? 2. Does anybody know if it was developed as a defense against hypersonic missiles?

      The big issue is probably more that there are currently no hypersonic missiles in service, so nobody has bothered to build a system to defend against them. Once they actually exist, then defenses will start being built. This is why many of these tests are secret, to give the offense a head start on the defense at the very least. Still, I wonder if the developers of the our missiles are also trying to come up with defenses?

  • No enemy "nation" will attack the US. The US armed forces already have enough firepower to do a whack-a-mole job on any "nation" in the world.

    The folks to worry about don't have a nation, but wear beards and rags on their heads. The US won't be able to use a s00per-s0nic-giga-Internet-Of-Things-Blockchain rocket against them anyway. Where should the US fire the rocket? Into the country "hosting" them . . . ? If the government even is actively supporting them . . . ? Is it a case of a bunch of Kalashn

  • by redelm ( 54142 ) on Saturday July 22, 2017 @03:04PM (#54858687) Homepage

    While options might in principle be a good thing, how is this particular weapon system anything other than destabilizing? Short hang time, hair-trigger.

    We already have hypersonic missiles, they're called ICBMs (US Trident 3) and MRBMs. Launch one, any everybody watching assumes multiple incoming thermonukes. With the new toys, it might just be conventional explosives. That's going to make anyone abandon "launch-on-warning"? Least of all the US!

    Consider the current crop of countries the US considers [potential] hot-war enemies: Would hypersonics keep the Russians out of Ukraine, let alone Crimea? The Chinese off the Pacific sandbanks? The NorKs from developing missiles? ISIS out of Raqqa? Iran from developing nukes? Short-fuse helps _none_ of these situations, and it is tough to think of one which it would.

    • Actually, I would have thought that a hypersonic missile might be good against the other, ICBM hypersonic missiles. If it goes fast enough it might be able to get to the ICBM while it is in space and possibly easier to hit since it is ballistic at that point. It will not be enough to stop all the ICBMs launched by another superpower so it will have no effect on the overall balance of power but it should be enough to stop the smaller number of missiles rogue nations like North Korea possess.
      • by redelm ( 54142 )

        Well, HS as an ABM it might be able to do an earlier intercept (not likely useful except possibly against EMP targetted) or extend the coverage range of the ABM system. Not likely more detectable than SLBM, and certainly more detectable than cruises.

    • by Uberbah ( 647458 )

      Would hypersonics keep the Russians out of Ukraine, let alone Crimea? The Chinese off the Pacific sandbanks? The NorKs from developing missiles? ISIS out of Raqqa? Iran from developing nukes?

      Except: the hyper-aggressive military power in desperate need of containment is not on your list. It's the rest of the world that needs protection from American imperialism, not America needing to protect itself from the rest of the world.

    • An in-atmosphere Anti-Ship missile with a 200 mile range won't destabilize the world or risk nuclear Armageddon. You are talking about ICBM Ballistic missiles, not short or mid range air breathing missiles. This will lead to the resumption of MAD (mutual assured destruction) among the major world powers, and neutralize the spread of anti-aircraft and anti-missile defenses to the third world.

  • by gurps_npc ( 621217 ) on Saturday July 22, 2017 @03:56PM (#54858919) Homepage

    Look, once you got nukes, the purpose of advancing military tech is no longer to attack other super-powers.

    Instead, it becomes a combination of two possibilities:

    1) Defeat lesser powers, including both non-nuclear nations and terrorists. They can't match our tech, so we do not need to go head to head against them.

    2) BANKRUPT your competitor superpowers. The idea is to force other super powers to spend so much on defense that to keep up, that it limits their other options.

    We are not trying to shoot down Russia's missiles. Instead we are trying to make it damn expensive for them to match us.

    Which is why they are using other means besides their regular army. Ukraine, hacking, etc.

    • by Uberbah ( 647458 )

      Which is why they are using other means besides their regular army. Ukraine, hacking, etc.

      Western Exceptionalist Swiftboating - taking your absolute worst flaws and projecting them onto someone else. It was the State Department and the CIA that overthrew the elected government of Ukraine, and hacking is what the U.S. does Angela Merkle's personal cell phone.

    • #2

      As other have posted hyper sonic missiles already exist in the form of ICBM's.

      I also assume these are shorter range, likely smaller and have less payload. I also assume that they are a lot cheaper to produce than ICBM. The trouble about ICBM's is that if you actually launch one, it is assumed nuclear, and "bad things will happen" TM. While possible that potentially a small yield nuclear warhead might be attached, unless you have a lot of these and close to everything, it would probably be inadvisable.

      #1

      Na

  • This is short range (Score:5, Interesting)

    by RhettLivingston ( 544140 ) on Saturday July 22, 2017 @05:00PM (#54859097)
    Existing ICBMs are hypersonic on entry. This is being considered something new because it is hypersonic through atmosphere while still under propulsion. That requires a lot more fuel than coasting through space and letting gravity pull you in. This could not hit "anywhere" in minutes because it wouldn't have enough fuel to go through that much atmosphere. It is an advance in short to perhaps medium range missile technology in that it is fast enough to get to a plane or from a submarine to a target before a response can be made.
  • enemy nations wouldn't dare attack if they knew they'd face certain retaliation within minutes.

    Enemy nations already do not dare attacking US, and the fact that NATO spends 80% of worldwide military expenses is probably the reason. These supersonic missiles are not for defense, they are to bolster offensive power.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    "In theory, enemy nations wouldn't dare attack if they knew they'd face certain retaliation within minutes."

    Yeah, we've tried these sorts of solutions. The Gatling Gun was supposed to be so terrible it would end war. The Wrights actually thought that flying would end war (the theory being, surveillance flights would reveal everything the enemy was doing, and they would know everything you were doing).

    It's all bollocks. No technology ends war, not ever. There is no dark well of ethical madness that manki

  • seems a bit after the fact compared to this [slashdot.org] supersonic vs photon cannon :x ... i still cant think of anything that could even get close if they set up a wall of those, no clue what the energy requirement would be but seeing as theres ALWAYS money for the military it shouldnt be that hard ? maybe fly over some coke from bolivia or colombia to finance it and Trump's your uncle, right :p (oops i did it again, im sorry guys but the dude is really pssing off more than he has hacked so far)

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