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US Army Completes First Test Flight of Mach 6 Weapon

Soulskill posted more than 2 years ago | from the for-warmaking-on-the-go dept.

The Military 230

Stirling Newberry writes "In a terse press release, the U.S. Department of Defense announced the first test of the the Advanced Hypersonic Weapon, which launches on a staged rocket and then glides to its target, in a manner similar to the Space Shuttle's re-entry. Earlier, ABC News posted a story with a video animation of the concept. Over at DefenseTech, they argue that the trajectory being different from an ICBM is meant to show that it is not a first strike device, but even the commenters don't think that explanation flies. The speed of deployment and the ability to strike targets without going high enough to be seen by many advance warning radars makes it a precision surprise attack weapon, a kind of super-cruise-missile for surprise, asymmetric attacks."

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Not first strike! (5, Funny)

pablo_max (626328) | more than 2 years ago | (#38098420)

It is clear that this is not a "first" strike weapon. The summation is correct, it is simply a "surprise" strike weapon. Which is OK, because, hey, who does not like surprises!?

Re:Not first strike! (-1, Flamebait)

Dareth (47614) | more than 2 years ago | (#38098532)

How surprised will an enemy be to be counter attacked if they strike first? Anyone ask Japan if they were surprised after Pearl Harbor?

Re:Not first strike! (4, Insightful)

f8l_0e (775982) | more than 2 years ago | (#38098572)

They may not have been surprised by the counterstrike, but I'm sure they were surprised with the scale.

Re:Not first strike! (2)

dpilot (134227) | more than 2 years ago | (#38099452)

I don't think Yamamoto was surprised, but I don't think his superiors were listening to him.

Re:Not first strike! (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38099836)

Yeah, when you have a guy like that in your chain of command, you should probably listen to him...

Course, on the other hand, if they hadn't provoked the US and gotten all demilitarized, we might now be dealing with a Cold War between China and Japan in addition to all the other crap right now. If, you know, they could have gotten Japan out of their country in the first place...

Re:Not first strike! (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38098676)

No, the real surprise is the surprise counter strike that comes before the initial strike!

Re:Not first strike! (2)

ArcherB (796902) | more than 2 years ago | (#38098596)

It is clear that this is not a "first" strike weapon. The summation is correct, it is simply a "surprise" strike weapon. Which is OK, because, hey, who does not like surprises!?

This weapon could be first strike, second strike, or any other strike. The US Military is hoping that this is a LAST Strike weapon.

Still, I say we should invest heavily into Rods from God [wikipedia.org] .

Re:Not first strike! (3, Informative)

dpilot (134227) | more than 2 years ago | (#38099552)

> The US Military is hoping that this is a LAST Strike weapon.

Didn't Stanley Kubrick already make this movie, long, long ago?
(I know the weapon specifics were different.)

One of the greatest Slim Pickin's movie moments, ever!

Re:Not first strike! (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38098604)

The summary was off, as usual. It is clear that this it not a NUCLEAR first-strike weapon. The idea obviously being it won't scream ICBM and, presumably, if you were going to launch a nuclear first strike, it wouldn't be started with just one or two of these. Sure, if you want to take out the leadership of, say, Iraq, at the start of a war, you could consider it first strike, but that's not the concern.

Re:Not first strike! (4, Insightful)

Chrisq (894406) | more than 2 years ago | (#38098770)

The summary was off, as usual. It is clear that this it not a NUCLEAR first-strike weapon. The idea obviously being it won't scream ICBM and, presumably, if you were going to launch a nuclear first strike, it wouldn't be started with just one or two of these. Sure, if you want to take out the leadership of, say, Iraq, at the start of a war, you could consider it first strike, but that's not the concern.

I can see the theory. In a world where rogue states have ICBMs if the Russians see one of these heading over they can say "Ah that's just our friends the Americans taking out some Afghans, not an Iranian loony attacking us". It only works if the countries trust each other - and know that the Americans wouldn't put a nuclear warhead in one and aim it at Russia.

Re:Not first strike! (4, Insightful)

zill (1690130) | more than 2 years ago | (#38099056)

I'm sorry I don't follow your logic. What's stopping these from becoming nuclear armed? Absolutely nothing.

Re:Not first strike! (4, Insightful)

Richard_at_work (517087) | more than 2 years ago | (#38099270)

We don't know what payload this weapon will be certified for - with cruise missiles such as the Tomahawk being certified for both the nuclear strike role and the conventional strike role, you cannot rule out the nuclear role for this weapon.

And indeed, this would be the perfect weapon for initiating a nuclear war - launch and strike the opposing forces command structure before they are aware (as you note), just as the plan was with the B-2 Spirit - but much quicker. With this weapon you could strike a target deep within Russia, with a nuclear payload, in the same time as an ICBM could - except the opposing force doesn't get the warning they do with an ICBM.

Launch your leadership strikes, and the moment they hit, launch your infrastructure strikes while the opposing force is headless and flailing.

So I really wouldn't discount this as a nuclear first strike weapon, not at all.

Re:Not first strike! (5, Insightful)

Eunuchswear (210685) | more than 2 years ago | (#38100042)

And indeed, this would be the perfect weapon for initiating a nuclear war - launch and strike the opposing forces command structure before they are aware (as you note), just as the plan was with the B-2 Spirit - but much quicker.

And of course that lead to the USSR developing headless launch capabilities which, if it wasn't for Stanislav Petrov would have killed us all.

Re:Not first strike! (2, Interesting)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 2 years ago | (#38098666)

While I suspect that you are joking, 'surprise' is really more 'first-strike' than mere 'first-strike' is.

Nobody, as yet, has any anti-ICBM interception capabilities that aren't wildly overpriced, oversold, toys; but detecting their approach and performing whatever melodramatic Big Red Button sequence your own launch systems require before they arrive is pretty doable. It's sort of the whole point of 'deterrence' and people keeping their second strike systems nice and shiny.

To the degree that this device manages to avoid pissing people off, it won't be because it's not an ICBM; but because neither this thing nor an ICBM is much use for knocking out the submarines on which the people who can afford it prefer to store at least a portion of their missiles...

Re:Not first strike! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38098752)

You suspect he was joking? What would lead you to that conclusion?!

Re:Not first strike! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38098854)

"Which is OK, because, hey, who does not like surprises!?"

Osama Bin Laden I hear. Last time America decided to throw a suprise party it was such a shock that a hole erupted in his head and he fell over backwards.

The worst part is his supporters had the cheek to call it an assassination, how unfair is that? after America went to all that effort of flying in with stealth helicopters so as not to ruin the suprise for him.

Re:Not first strike! (4, Funny)

Black Parrot (19622) | more than 2 years ago | (#38099242)

It is clear that this is not a "first" strike weapon. The summation is correct, it is simply a "surprise" strike weapon. Which is OK, because, hey, who does not like surprises!?

Like Jesus said, "Do unto others before they do unto you."

Re:Not first strike! (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38100040)

Historically, the USA has not 'struck first. Especially in the 20th century. They have waited until they or their allies had been attacked.
examples
WWI - 3 year late
WWII waited until Pearl Harbor
Korean War The North had overrun most of the South
Veitnam war - the French were fighting there for over a decade before

Gulf war part 1 Sadam Had invaded Kuwait
Afghanistan was response to Sept 11 2001
Iraq war was a continuation of the Gulf War part 1 see above

I have a cruise missile (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38098422)

I have a cruise missile in my pants. I fucked Taco's wife with it last night.

Re:I have a cruise missile (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38098632)

And you didn't even wake her up.

Or Cmdr. Taco.

Stealth rockets (2, Interesting)

swinferno (1212408) | more than 2 years ago | (#38098426)

Amazing the USA still has the funds allocated to develop such things

Re:Stealth rockets (4, Insightful)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 2 years ago | (#38098680)

As long as people are willing to lend you money, you have funds...

Re:Stealth rockets (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38098886)

Yeah when the country will go bankrupt and get the white house will be seized by the chineses those things will be useless. ...and probably get seized too.

Re:Stealth rockets (5, Insightful)

berashith (222128) | more than 2 years ago | (#38099136)

these may get seized, but I imagine part of having them is that we can give them to our creditors very quickly, delivery free of charge, in less than an hour!

Re:Stealth rockets (1)

Slider451 (514881) | more than 2 years ago | (#38099148)

Yeah when the country will go bankrupt and get the white house will be seized by the chineses those things will be useless. ...and probably get seized too.

How, exactly, are the Chinese going to seize anything? The US military will still find beans and bullets to defend its shores, even if the rest of the country starves. If the US goes bankrupt China will be in bad shape, too, and they're not (yet) able to enforce their contracts by force. They're in bed together whether they like it or not.

Re:Stealth rockets (1)

dpilot (134227) | more than 2 years ago | (#38099578)

No need to seize them, just crack our command and control network, and control them.

Re:Stealth rockets (2)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 2 years ago | (#38099152)

As much as the "You can understand macroeconomics just by multiplying your household budget by a few hundred billion" school constantly goes on to the contrary, it doesn't really work that way.

Little people debt is heavily asymmetric. Big Serious Debt(much of it owed in the currency of the debtor, and with happy thoughts and optimism as collateral, no less) opens up a number of interesting little twists...

Re:Stealth rockets (1)

bill_mcgonigle (4333) | more than 2 years ago | (#38099340)

much of it owed in the currency of the debtor, and with happy thoughts and optimism as collateral, no less

I can haz debt monetization too?

Re:Stealth rockets (4, Insightful)

Overzeetop (214511) | more than 2 years ago | (#38099174)

"If you owe a country a billion dollars, you have a problem;
If you owe a country a trillion dollars, they have a problem"
-Jon Stewart

Re:Stealth rockets (2)

flyingsquid (813711) | more than 2 years ago | (#38099132)

...and people are willing to lend you money, as long as you have the ability to put a nuke anywhere on the planet with a couple of hours. So you see, this *is* part of a sound fiscal policy!

Borrowing alone isn't sustainable (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38099550)

The average US citizen pays upwards of 50% of their yearly earnings to government through federal, state, and local taxes and fees combined. Bet you didn't know that, did you? That's right: a staggaring HALF of the US GDP is taken each year by the US government.

If the US government was funded primarily through borrowing, the size and scope of the US federal government would be 1/10 (or less) the montrosity it is today. Why? Because "the people" would never choose for themselves to pay for this, and that, suffice to say, is why the first prerequisite of every government is guns (and the special "right" to employ them not in defense, but as a business model).

Re:Borrowing alone isn't sustainable (3, Informative)

blueg3 (192743) | more than 2 years ago | (#38099916)

No, it's around 27% -- including all levels of government -- not 50%.

Also, if you're including state and local taxes, then the taxing organization is not "the US government".

Re:Stealth rockets (5, Funny)

Kronotross (1671418) | more than 2 years ago | (#38099036)

We may not have the best healthcare, education, economy, spaceflight resources, elderly care, poverty rates, or political climate, but you better believe we have all of the time, energy, and funding in the world when it comes to bombs. Maybe it's because it's one of the few things at which we're still number one. U S A! U S A! U S A!

Re:Stealth rockets (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38099610)

We may not have the best healthcare, education, economy, spaceflight resources, elderly care, poverty rates

We do have the best healthcare — overall, despite recent attempts to damage it — you just can't trust outfits like WHO to compare it, because in their openly-Socialist opinion, the worst thing you could say about a healthcare system, is that it is "not free"... Our public school education does suck, but not for lack of money — per-pupil costs of public schools quadrupled [ed.gov] since 1962 (inflation adjusted). Our elderly care is superb (judging by the three families of grandparents in my family), and our poverty rate is zero (yes, there are people, who are poor relatively to the rest of Americans, but in absolute terms the poorest New Yorker is better off than an average North Korean). "Spaceflight" -- beyond its military applications -- is really not government's business.

we have all of the time, energy, and funding in the world when it comes to bombs

Yes, maintaining military is the government's constitutional obligation and responsibility.

Re:Stealth rockets (4, Insightful)

flaming error (1041742) | more than 2 years ago | (#38099050)

The USA just opened a new military base ... in Australia. Nobody even knows how many foreign bases the USA has, but we have them in at least 130 foreign countries

If you focus on just two things in the world, the distribution of wealth, and the distribution of military power, you may conclude like I that the US is a de facto empire, and that the world's wealth is migrating to a de facto plutocracy. I can't prove that those two situations are related, but it seems more likely they are, than not.

Being amazed that the debt-bound USA is still developing weapons systems is like being amazed a thirsty pit bull still pisses on trees.

Re:Stealth rockets (1, Redundant)

blueg3 (192743) | more than 2 years ago | (#38099928)

Nobody even knows how many foreign bases the USA has

I'm certain there are people in the US government who know how many foreign bases the US has.

Re:Stealth rockets (1)

MonkeyClicker (1415475) | more than 2 years ago | (#38099094)

Its all about setting up your priorities.

Re:Stealth rockets (3, Funny)

tokul (682258) | more than 2 years ago | (#38099186)

Amazing the USA still has the funds

Printing presses still work.

Re:Stealth rockets (0)

gorzek (647352) | more than 2 years ago | (#38099202)

The US' primary exports are various ways of killing people.

Re:Stealth rockets (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38100104)

Due to the resounding success of the Stealth Catapult program, the US really didn't have any choice but to build Stealth Rockets.

Whats wrong with that? (3, Interesting)

Rockoon (1252108) | more than 2 years ago | (#38098442)

I don't see how my side having the capability to make "surprise, asymmetric attacks" could be considered a bad thing on its own. Whats the price tag?

Re:Whats wrong with that? (2)

rickb928 (945187) | more than 2 years ago | (#38098670)

Don't focus on price, focus on savings. As in lives.

Re:Whats wrong with that? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38098896)

Like as in:

We make armor so that we "save lives". ..and NOT :

We make armor so that we "reliably hide behind something for protection when we shoot at and kill people".

Lt. Lockhart: Joker, I've told you, we run two basic stories here. [redacted] ...Winning of Hearts and Minds--okay? And combat action that results in a kill--Winning the War. Now you must have seen blood trails ... drag marks? ...Joker, maybe you'd like our guys to read the paper and feel bad. I mean, in case you didn't know it, this is not a particularly popular war. Now, it is our job to report the news that these "why-are-we-here?" civilian newsmen ignore.

Re:Whats wrong with that? (1)

Titan1080 (1328519) | more than 2 years ago | (#38099014)

yes. we must do all we can to help the endangered human species...

Re:Whats wrong with that? (1)

MacGyver2210 (1053110) | more than 2 years ago | (#38099434)

I bet you could sell a ketchup popsicle to a woman in white gloves...

Re:Whats wrong with that? (0)

somersault (912633) | more than 2 years ago | (#38098734)

The price tag is that the rest of the world thinks you're an asshole, so you get people adding their body fluids to your food when you dine abroad.

Re:Whats wrong with that? (1)

fran6gagne (1467469) | more than 2 years ago | (#38098798)

The price tag is that the rest of the world thinks you're an asshole, so you get people adding their body fluids to your food when you dine abroad.

Speaking by experience?

Re:Whats wrong with that? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38099224)

Speaking by experience?

Experience? Hell, why do you think he went there?

Re:Whats wrong with that? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38099408)

The price tag is that the rest of the world thinks you're an asshole, so you get people adding their body fluids to your food when you dine abroad.

Speaking by experience?

That's what we do in Europe to the Americans who visit us anyway..

Re:Whats wrong with that? (1)

Black Parrot (19622) | more than 2 years ago | (#38098992)

The price tag is that the rest of the world thinks you're an asshole, so you get people adding their body fluids to your food when you dine abroad.

Would that be precious bodily foods, or just ordinary bodily fluids?

(Hmmm... the reference seems especially poignant in the context of this article.)

Re:Whats wrong with that? (0)

Pope (17780) | more than 2 years ago | (#38099034)

Well, Mandrake, you're a good officer, and you have the right to know. I've been pissing in your soup for weeks.

Re:Whats wrong with that? (1)

Black Parrot (19622) | more than 2 years ago | (#38099176)

Well, Mandrake, you're a good officer, and you have the right to know. I've been pissing in your soup for weeks.

Ah, I thought the gazpacho was warmer than it should have been.

Re:Whats wrong with that? (1)

rubycodez (864176) | more than 2 years ago | (#38100072)

and surely by now an astute observer such as yourself has noted the browner color and warmth of the vichyssoise

Re:Whats wrong with that? (5, Insightful)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 2 years ago | (#38098780)

I don't see how my side having the capability to make "surprise, asymmetric attacks" could be considered a bad thing on its own.

It's a cold war thing: The theory is that, as long as you have two or more nuclear powers who potentially would like to see the others enjoy a dose of thermonuclear holocaust; but definitely don't want one themselves, the situation is stable so long as two rules hold:

1. Launching a nuclear delivery vehicle is visible and attributable.

2. It is not possible to neutralize(either through surprise strike on launch sites, or through anti-missile defenses that actually work) another party's nuclear delivery capability.

If those two hold, everybody just announces that they are far to nice to perform a first strike; but they will second-strike like a crazy motherfucker if anybody tries anything funny. You then keep your finger on the button and stare nervously at one another for the indefinite future, which is expensive and hard on the nerves; but has so far kept global thermonuclear war to a minimum.

Any time somebody starts working on a system that upsets these two conditions, people start to get a touch twitchy.

Re:Whats wrong with that? (4, Insightful)

Nadaka (224565) | more than 2 years ago | (#38099352)

One problem with the US is that we have a fundamentalist christian faction that is OK with, and even eager to receive a bit of thermonuclear holocaust. For some reason, many of them are drawn to careers in the USAF, particularly the Strategic Air Command. My father was one.

Re:Whats wrong with that? (1)

Hentes (2461350) | more than 2 years ago | (#38099650)

Which is why I never understood why does the US put so much energy trying to build a rocket defence system. Do they really want a nuclear war? Or is it just another bluff like SDI?

This rocket seems somewhat less aggressive, as I don't think it is capable of preventing a retaliation. Even if it manages to destroy the rocket sites, there are nukes on planes, subs and Russia even has nuclear trains.

Re:Whats wrong with that? (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 2 years ago | (#38099896)

I'm not an expert by any means; but I get the impression that there are a few different camps behind the idea:

You have the optimists and the true believers(frequently identifiable by the PNAC affiliation on their CV, and/or the ability to use "hyperpower" and "Full Spectrum Dominance" with a straight face, or the belief that the 'uni-polar world' was a permanent condition), who seem to actually think that we can build a fully functional SDI system, at which point we can finally tell the commies to suck it down.

You then have the 'middle ground' types, who operate under the theory that if we can just build a really sucky SDI system, that won't piss off anybody who can afford lots of missiles; but will protect us from 'rogue states' who can only afford a few(and don't think of the dastardly 'just rent a U-Haul' plan).

There could also just be the fact that hiring a defense contractor to work on something open-ended and expensive is usually a pretty safe move, from an electoral standpoint.

Re:Whats wrong with that? (1)

bWareiWare.co.uk (660144) | more than 2 years ago | (#38098884)

Try telling all your friends that you may one day kill them in their sleep.

Re:Whats wrong with that? (1)

Pope (17780) | more than 2 years ago | (#38099052)

Well, son, all you need to be is willing to do it. And I'm willing to do it! Plus, I have quiet shoes...

Re:Whats wrong with that? (1)

Hentes (2461350) | more than 2 years ago | (#38099566)

If it can ruin mutually assured destruction, some countries might try to prevent mass deployment of it by a preemptive strike. Although I admit that this is very unlikely.

WOW (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38098474)

We can spend billions of dollars for useless weapons, but can't bother to spend the necessary money to keep our infrastructure from crumbling. What a fine use of our tax dollars!

Re:WOW (1)

be_kul (718053) | more than 2 years ago | (#38098600)

No, they are not useless. They will possibly prevent millions of people from dying of hunger – by killing them first.

Re:WOW (1, Insightful)

Black Parrot (19622) | more than 2 years ago | (#38099090)

We can spend billions of dollars for useless weapons, but can't bother to spend the necessary money to keep our infrastructure from crumbling. What a fine use of our tax dollars!

Presumably that's because the defense contractors that make these toys are traded on Wall Street, but most of the companies that fix rusty bridges and patch up potholes aren't.

Re:WOW (0)

thedonger (1317951) | more than 2 years ago | (#38099334)

We can spend billions of dollars for useless weapons, but can't bother to spend the necessary money to keep our infrastructure from crumbling. What a fine use of our tax dollars!

I won't argue whether or not the weapon is useful (in fact, that is unknowable - either we use it one day and thank [insert favorite deity here] we developed it, or we never use it, which takes an awfully long time find out), but I will argue that we waste - provably waste - far more money than the development costs of this weapon. It is sad that the majority of people (or at least the vocal minority) focus so hard on symptoms that they completely miss the problem.

Re:WOW (2)

ubermiester (883599) | more than 2 years ago | (#38099904)

Not useless.
  • 1. This would reduce the intel to strike time from days to hours (missile cruisers would no longer have to travel hundreds or thousands of miles to strike a target)
  • 2. It can be launched from within the continental US, which means little or no overseas deployment would be necessary to use it - i.e., no risk to navy personnel.
  • 3. I would not be misinterpreted as an ICBM by Russia, China, et al, because it has a very different trajectory and signature (it is a passive glider for a large portion of its trip)

I am not sure if it would be cheaper than an equivalent cruise missile strike, but the fact that no troop/ship deployment would be required makes it likely that this is a more cost effective means of striking a target halfway around the world on short notice. All of that said, I understand the concern that the development costs look frightening, but one must consider it's utility, the cost of an equivalent capability (seal team, cruise missile, airstrike etc), and the fact that it would - under some very specific circumstances - avoid putting US servicemen in harms way.

bullets are first strike weapons too (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38098490)

I don't get it. Element of surprise is is a war tactician's wet dream.... Sun Tzu and all that jazz.

Besides, a sniper on the rooftop could be a first strike too, you know.

Re:bullets are first strike weapons too (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38098836)

"First strike" is nuclear-oriented terminology, and means what you'd expect. First strike weapons are pretty much just the ICBMs, though if I recall, Russia considers the W-88 warheads that the US subs carry to be first strike weapons. "Second strike" refers to the response forces that can be expected to survive a nuclear assault, primarily submarines, but also aircraft carrying nuclear ordinance. It's the guarantee part of MAD.

Of course, with early-warning systems, the first strike weapons would be launched before they're destroyed, as they're mostly targeted, fueled, and ready to be launched more or less on the push of a button. This is actually a very, very bad idea, and has come close to causing a world-ending accident/misunderstanding.

Re:bullets are first strike weapons too (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38098902)

Because people here are don't understand the meaning off "First Strike".

During the cold war, it was thought that we had reached the point where the only way to "win" the war, was to "First Strike" with most everything you had. (Use it or lose it)

The idea was that the defender wouldn't be able to launch *anything*, after the attacker launched a "First Strike".

To counter this, both sides built stealth submarines, in air bombers and hidden, fortified ICBM launchers. Since one nuclear bomb can ruin your whole day, if the defender could keep even 10% of his forces operations, he'd be able to send a crippling response. Thus, a First Strike was deterred.

Sweden had this four years ago... (5, Interesting)

G3ckoG33k (647276) | more than 2 years ago | (#38098518)

Saab tests hypersonic missile news (http://www.domain-b.com/defence/def_prod/20071228_saab.html)
28 December 2007
In an advanced test, Swedish conglomerate Saab, launched three hypersonic missiles to demonstrate controlled flight at extreme speeds. The missile, of which three were built, was test fired at maximum velocity, exceeding Mach 5.5, corresponding to 6500 km/h. Saab Bofors Dynamics, a subsidiary, developed the experimental missile, in a technology programme financed by the Swedish Defence Materiel Administration (FMV). The successful test makes Saab the first company to demonstrate that it is possible to manoeuvre missiles at hypersonic speed.

Don't worry. This is not part of what was sold to China...

Re:Sweden had this four years ago... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38098626)

Terrorists! I knew it! We'd better invade their neighbor, Norway, and take all the oil and pretend not to notice that we're increasing Ira^H^N^NSweden's influence in the region. Quick, grab your guns^H^H^H^HUAV remotes!

Re:Sweden had this four years ago... (1)

berashith (222128) | more than 2 years ago | (#38099190)

I have a very strong feeling that this one goes a lot faster.

Re:Sweden had this four years ago... (2)

JasterBobaMereel (1102861) | more than 2 years ago | (#38099646)

Mach 5.5 vs Mach 6 is not "a lot faster" but both are fast enough to make it unlikely it would be spotted before it hit ...which is the point

Re:Sweden had this four years ago... (4, Funny)

Traiano (1044954) | more than 2 years ago | (#38099272)

Yes. But, unlike the Swedish version, the US version won't leak oil.

Wrong (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38099424)

Sweden only had a mach 5.5 weapon, so they didn't have a mach 6 weapon four years ago.

How do they think they can win? (3, Interesting)

StillNeedMoreCoffee (123989) | more than 2 years ago | (#38098622)

Another big Wack a Mole hammer. I can never win at Wack a Mole why does the Defense Department think they will be able to?

Re:How do they think they can win? (5, Insightful)

Dishevel (1105119) | more than 2 years ago | (#38098832)

The thing about "Wack A Mole" is that your success depends almost solely on speed.
The thing about this missile is its SPEED.

This is not a big hammer it is a really fast hammer.

Exactly the type of thing you want for "Wack A Mole".

Sorry if these facts screwed up your trite cool sounding anti government post.
But I really think you do still need some more coffee.

Re:How do they think they can win? (1)

aicrules (819392) | more than 2 years ago | (#38099074)

actually the IDEAL situation is to balance speed with coverage. Just because a whack-a-mole game assumes you have one hammer, doesn't mean it wouldn't be most effective to have a hammer for every hole that hit simultaneously so that you can spam-slam and win. I don't think what I'm saying is at all pro or anti government, but I'll gladly take one side or the other.

Re:How do they think they can win? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38099950)

His "Anti government" post was spot-on.
If this makes people in higher office think they can launch an attack with these and be successful, then they will.

Do you imagine that is a good thing?

Re:How do they think they can win? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38098986)

The Defense Department whacks the mole, his friends, neighbors, relatives, the mole mound, the yard, neighborhood, block, and nearby counties. Not only did the Defense Department get the mole, there are no more moles in a three county radius. They play on a completely different scale than you do.

Re:How do they think they can win? (1)

DrDoug (96866) | more than 2 years ago | (#38099092)

Another big Wack a Mole hammer. I can never win at Wack a Mole why does the Defense Department think they will be able to?

You can be sure they are busy developing new moles, too.

Re:How do they think they can win? (1)

MozeeToby (1163751) | more than 2 years ago | (#38099226)

Get a big enough hammer and you can reduce the entire Wack a Mole machine to splinters. Unfortunately in this analogy the machine itself roughly translates to being the entire international community.

Re:How do they think they can win? (1)

tgd (2822) | more than 2 years ago | (#38099580)

Another big Wack a Mole hammer. I can never win at Wack a Mole why does the Defense Department think they will be able to?

I'm not sure I'd equate anyone else's level of coordination with your lack of it.

My five year old nephew has no problems with whack-a-mole.

And I suspect a hypersonic cruise missile would also work effectively against it.

Neat! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38098682)

Now we can kill people faster than ever!

Re:Neat! (1)

Black Parrot (19622) | more than 2 years ago | (#38099028)

Now we can kill people faster than ever!

Once we get it working FTL, we can kill them yesterday!

Honeypot opportunity (-1, Redundant)

DigiShaman (671371) | more than 2 years ago | (#38098688)

You just know that nations such as China, Russia, India, Iran...etc so want to get their hands on this technology! Now would be a perfect time to setup honeypots to find and track suspected moles within the defense industry. Round up the H1B fuckers caught and kick them out of the country if on US soil.

Re:Honeypot opportunity (2)

Chrisq (894406) | more than 2 years ago | (#38098864)

You just know that nations such as China, Russia, India, Iran...etc so want to get their hands on this technology! Now would be a perfect time to setup honeypots to find and track suspected moles within the defense industry. Round up the H1B fuckers caught and kick them out of the country if on US soil.

Actually a lot of leaks come from Good o'l boys [wikipedia.org]

Re:Honeypot opportunity (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38099024)

So what if they want one as well? Every country has the rights to protect its citizens.

Same thing as before? (0)

Xacid (560407) | more than 2 years ago | (#38098692)

Didn't the US have one of these recently that failed and plunged into the ocean? Just wondering if it's the same thing as before.

Wait a minute... (1)

moj0joj0 (1119977) | more than 2 years ago | (#38098766)

I read about this sort of thing before only it wasn't testing hyper velocity it was the JRV Nagoya [wikipedia.org] , which is testing top-secret weapons and stealth systems that use the latest developments in quantum physics.

I hope the timeline doesn't shift today, I've just gotten the last hold-outs in my family to install Linux! -- Wait, could this be the shift in the timeline? Why else would non-technical consumers migrate willingly to Linux Mint? Uh-oh!

In truth, there are civilian applications that can use the knowledge gleaned from these sorts of tests. While the weapon is potentially a significant balance shift, I don't think that this is remotely ready to deploy. In many cases, this sort of thing never makes it into the field. Yet the science is neutral, once discovered, it can be used for non-military applications as well.

mach 6 (2)

ciderbrew (1860166) | more than 2 years ago | (#38098988)

I did a google search for the mph and a lot of results came back. News sites being the most inaccurate I expect. I've seen results between 4,000 & 5000 mph posted. I would take the average at 4,500 mph; but instead I've decided Mach 6 is very fast. Not as fast as light; but still really fast. I've given up until the neutrino faster than light thing gets fixed. It's Friday and two hours until beer o'clock?

Re:mach 6 (1)

aicrules (819392) | more than 2 years ago | (#38099116)

I think it's Mach 6 when it's firing against the earth's rotation. That seems pretty solid right?

Paid With Debts to China (0)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 2 years ago | (#38099192)

We absolutely must spend more $BILLIONS on this weapon. Even though we're going to finally permanently steal America's Social Security pension fund to pretend to pay for it. While we actually pay for it with more $BILLIONS we borrow from China.

China wouldn't be nearly the threat to the USA it is if we hadn't borrowed the $TRILLION we owe China to pay for weapons like this to protect us from China. As usual, the best national security is investing in developing our own citizens instead of spending on corporate contractors that profits our enemies.

Re:Paid With Debts to China (1)

Bardwick (696376) | more than 2 years ago | (#38099490)

If it came to war with China, they need not fire a shot. Just stop buying our debt. US would collapse. Yes, of course it would hurt China, but a lot less than they would suffer in a war.

All right. One more time. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38099296)

We can't beat China on trade. We can't. They have too much of a head start and while the US was screwing around, beating it's chest over the corpse of the USSR they snuck off with all our stuff. We can't beat them.

What we can do is what we are best at -- spending ginormous amounts of money on weapons that scare the beejeezus out of generals on the other side. This, in turn, makes it imperative that China invests a fuck-ton of loot in catching up.

That's OUR loot, by the way. Oh, and for those of you who weren't paying attention, the US will SELL IT TO THEM. We win. They lose.

Remember, 'Nice place you got here. Shame if something happened to it' is a phrase native to the US.

Use with a MOP! (1)

wisebabo (638845) | more than 2 years ago | (#38099602)

So, if the booster is big enough, can they use this thing with a MOP as a payload?

http://news.slashdot.org/story/11/11/17/1445237/boeing-delivers-massive-ordnance-penetrator [slashdot.org]

A big 30,000 warhead designed to blow up things DEEP underground might even do a better job if delivered at hypersonic speeds, think "rods from god". (It'll have to be redisgned to take the much higher impact speed but that's what engineers are for!) The fact that it is delivered on a (much) more expensive booster is mitigated by the fact that you don't need to use a B-2 to deliver it. This gives you two advantages: 1) the (admittedly low) risk of human crew loss (and loss of a $2B bomber) goes to zero and 2) you can now attack IN DAYLIGHT (B-2s lose their stealth advantage because they are not invisible to visible light, just radar and have low infrared profiles. So I figure any Iranian fighter pilot could easily shoot down the subsonic aircraft during the day).

Paradoxically they may NOT be as good a first strike weapon as a B-2 bomber against a great power because presumably Russia (and China?) can detect missile launches anywhere in the world more easily than a stealthy B-2. Against some country like Iran or North Korea however, they give the commander in Chief the ability to hit a target very quickly, with almost zero chance of interception, with the power of redirection (or abort) and during daylight (which would be very useful if you want to KILL all THE high value PEOPLE working there). Combined with a MOP you can go after even the deep ultra-high value targets although in order to do so you'd probably need to develop a new heavily solid fuel launcher (the old minuteman and MX don't have the throw weight and liquid fueled rockets aren't exactly things you can launch on a moment's notice).

Obligatory Nazi reference (1)

wisebabo (638845) | more than 2 years ago | (#38099684)

Oh, I forgot. This, by the way reminds me of what the Nazi's tried to do with the Sanger(?) "skip bomber" which when launched by a sub-orbital V-2 would send a manned (one pilot) space-craft skipping across the upper atmosphere to bomb targets on the other side of the planet.

Of course since they didn't have guidance technology good enough, it had to be manned, and because thy didn't have big enough boosters it had to be sub-orbital, and because they didn't have THE BOMB it was hardly worth it just to drop a few tons of explosive. But hey, if they had these things they could've won!

How it compares (1)

Bengie (1121981) | more than 2 years ago | (#38099750)

I was reading an article at some point in the past few months about a hyper-sonic missile type device. Except this one went up and above the atmosphere. It skimmed across the top layer of the atmosphere like a stone skipping on a lake, then it re-entered when it neared its target.

It was so fast, that the military who launched it couldn't even track it.

If the USA military builds and lunches a missile that is so fast that they cannot even track it, I wonder how one defends against it.

My guess is we'll see more tech going into tracking systems.

we used to lead (1)

nimbius (983462) | more than 2 years ago | (#38099822)

by example in america, and after our example faltered we lead by decree. it seems we're just leading by military engagement these days.
the biggest threat to america is not from an attacking foreign power, but that it as a superpower will become irrelevant in the twenty first century.

*WHOOSH* (4, Funny)

qubex (206736) | more than 2 years ago | (#38099870)

Finally a slashdot article that doesn’t go *WHOOSH* over my head.

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