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Russia Wants a Hypersonic Bomber

Soulskill posted more than 2 years ago | from the to-be-fair-so-do-i dept.

The Military 319

derekmead writes "Hot on the heels of the U.S. Air Force's most recent failed test of an unmanned hypersonic vehicle, Russia now says it wants to jump into the hypersonic game with a long-range bomber. Will Russia's newest Bear fly at 4,500 miles an hour? The Russian military sure hopes so. 'I think we need to go down the route of hypersonic technology and we are moving in that direction and are not falling behind the Americans,' Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin said on Russian television. 'The question is will we copy the Americans' 40-year experience and create a [Northrop] B-2 analog or will we go down a new, ultramodern technology route, looking to the horizon, and create a machine able to penetrate air defenses and carry out a strike on any aggressor.' The Russians want their plane operational by 2020, which doesn't seem particularly realistic — we are talking about five times the speed of sound here, and Russia is just starting engine development. The U.S., meanwhile, has been investing in its Waverider program since 2004, and the last test of the X-51A scramjet-powered missile failed after just 15 seconds."

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Just what the world needs (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41169483)

another hypersonic bomber

Re:Just what the world needs (2)

BLToday (1777712) | more than 2 years ago | (#41169627)

"Another"? I don't remember seeing one operational.

Re:Just what the world needs (2)

mcfatboy93 (1363705) | more than 2 years ago | (#41169641)

There is probably a good reason for that...

Re:Just what the world needs (1)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | more than 2 years ago | (#41169685)

Yeah, you didn't *see* it...but it's there [wikipedia.org]

Re:Just what the world needs (2, Informative)

DragonTHC (208439) | more than 2 years ago | (#41169751)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/North_American_XB-70_Valkyrie [wikipedia.org]

Operational but not deployed.

Re:Just what the world needs (4, Informative)

ravenshrike (808508) | more than 2 years ago | (#41169949)

Hypersonic is Mach 5+.

Re:Just what the world needs (1)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | more than 2 years ago | (#41169955)

Supersonic but not hypersonic.

Re:Just what the world needs (1)

TXG1112 (456055) | more than 2 years ago | (#41169829)

Ummm... the B-1B is Mach 1.25 [wikipedia.org] .

Re:Just what the world needs (1)

dunkelfalke (91624) | more than 2 years ago | (#41169957)

Which is not hypersonic. Besides B-1B is not nearly the fastest operational bomber anyway.

Re:Just what the world needs (1)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | more than 2 years ago | (#41169975)

Nowhere near hypersonic.

Re:Just what the world needs (1)

Sulphur (1548251) | more than 2 years ago | (#41169655)

another hypersonic bomber

They only have to fly for fifteen seconds to catch up.

At those speeds, a load of bricks or a Stalin statue would do a lot of damage.

Back to the Future... (2, Insightful)

jedidiah (1196) | more than 2 years ago | (#41169489)

Perhaps it's time to get the SR-71 out of mothballs.

Despite being ancient and retired, it still seems to be the best thing going.

Re:Back to the Future... (4, Informative)

Jeng (926980) | more than 2 years ago | (#41169549)

Except for being the wrong plane for the job.

It is a surveillance plane, not a bomber and not a fighter.

It takes pictures and goes fast and there is no room for carrying ordnance. It can't even take off with it's fuel tanks full.

Re:Back to the Future... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41169639)

It can't even take off with it's fuel tanks full.

Even if it could, the tanks leak like a sieve until it heats up enough through air friction.

Re:Back to the Future... (5, Interesting)

Richard_at_work (517087) | more than 2 years ago | (#41169715)

It can take off with full tanks, it just doesn't because it's single engine performance (needed to be considered incase you lose one on takeoff) is poor - they used to fly with full tanks from Kadena regularly, depending on the mission profile.

Also, there is plenty of room for weapons bays in the payload bays aft of the cockpit - that's where the YF-12A had its Aim-47A missiles stowed. Yup, there was an interceptor variant of the A-12/SR-71 tested.

It's still the wrong aircraft for the job, because it's been out of service for nearly two decades, and the jigs and tool sets have been destroyed for nearly twice that long.

Re:Back to the Future... (1)

Richard_at_work (517087) | more than 2 years ago | (#41169781)

Urgh - "it doesn't on many mission profiles because..." that was supposed to be. It's standard mission profile was to take off with low fuel in the tanks and tank in the air, because it solved both the engine out issues and it was easier than setting up the fuel tank inerting system on the ground.

Re:Back to the Future... (1)

jedidiah (1196) | more than 2 years ago | (#41169805)

It's still probably a better starting point than an empty piece of paper and completely unproven technology. It's operational characteristics demonstrate what has already been done with 60s era technology. No flights of fancy required.

It's not unlike recycled 60's rocket tech in this regard.

Meanwhile, our hypersonic missiles can't survive for more than 60 seconds.

Re:Back to the Future... (1)

jgtg32a (1173373) | more than 2 years ago | (#41169843)

Actually it was originally intended to be an interceptor

Re:Back to the Future... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41169867)

" It can't even take off with it's fuel tanks full."

You can reduce the weight by removing all the extra apostrophes you (ab)use.

Re:Back to the Future... (1)

idontgno (624372) | more than 2 years ago | (#41169897)

It can't even take off with it's fuel tanks full.

Neither can a B-52, but 35 tons of payload is plenty of room for carrying ordnance, as sure as shooting.

And the Air Force DID have the F-12 program [wikipedia.org] , notionally working on a high-supersonic interceptor to replace the canceled F-108 Rapier program [wikipedia.org] . But that program, and its prototype YF-12 aircraft, were also used as public cover for the SR-71 program (A-12) under development at the time, so it's hard to know how seriously the Air Force took it.

They did develop the plane to the point of an integrated prototype with weapons tests and everything, just short of production.

So, yeah, there is a little more to the SR-71 stable than just "we kill'um with fil'um" (as a recon pilot acquaintance of mine used to express it).

Re:Back to the Future... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41169913)

So modify it. Should cost no more than a couple of billion.

Re:Back to the Future... (2)

Shagg (99693) | more than 2 years ago | (#41169711)

To drop cameras on the target?

I want (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41169491)

I want a pony and a million dollars. Doesn't mean it will happen.

Re:I want (4, Funny)

aaaaaaargh! (1150173) | more than 2 years ago | (#41169689)

Why do you want a million dollars?

Re:I want (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41169831)

I want a million dollars so I can buy the best oats for my pony.

Re:I want (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41169697)

I want a pony and a million dollars. Doesn't mean it will happen.

If I were a rich man [youtube.com] ... I'd buy my own hypersonic transport with blackjack and hookers! In fact, forget the hypersonic transport.

Good (4, Insightful)

Sparticus789 (2625955) | more than 2 years ago | (#41169505)

Glad someone else is stepping up to the plate. Development on such equipment could easily lead to civilian hypersonic aircraft, getting rid of 15 hour flights to Australia and such. Also sparks research on better ways of space travel, as the scramjet is closer to being space capable than a traditional jet engine.

Re:Good (1)

milesy20 (94995) | more than 2 years ago | (#41169535)

Glad someone else is stepping up to the plate. Development on such equipment could easily lead to civilian hypersonic aircraft, getting rid of 15 hour flights to Australia and such. Also sparks research on better ways of space travel, as the scramjet is closer to being space capable than a traditional jet engine.

Please explain for the unwashed masses how a scramjet is closer to being space capable? Doesnt it require a funneled input of compressed gas to function... gas that I assume is not too abundant in the vacuum of space?

Re:Good (2, Insightful)

Jeng (926980) | more than 2 years ago | (#41169579)

I ain't sure about being able to operate in space, but it has may be a very good way to get there.

Re:Good (0)

cpu6502 (1960974) | more than 2 years ago | (#41169605)

Yes a scramjet would be straned in space w/ no way to move. Charleton Heston made a movie about it in the 70s.

And the SR-71 can takeoff with full tanks, but they leak all over the place. We had a supersonic jet called the Concorde and it failed to make a profit. Passengers didn't like the loudness of the ride (engine rumbling and air rushing past). I suspect any new jet would have the same flaw.

Re:Good (2)

imemyself (757318) | more than 2 years ago | (#41169649)

I don't think it was the loudness of the ride that killed the Concorde...but rather the cost of the tickets (and the rising cost of fuel).

Re:Good (0)

dpilot (134227) | more than 2 years ago | (#41169855)

I recently read that the Concorde, while taxiing into takeoff position, used as much fuel as a modern airliner uses getting all the way to its destination.

That said, Concorde comparisons are unfair. Sure, it was an SST, but these days it's ancient technology. One of the prime requirements for the YF22/YF23 was that the planes be able to supercruise - to reach supersonic speed without using afterburners. We could make a much better SST design, starting today. That said, physics still rules, and it would still use more fuel than current airliners. The question is then how much more fuel, and especially on long-haul flights, how much would people be willing to pay to make it shorter?

Re:Good (3, Interesting)

Richard_at_work (517087) | more than 2 years ago | (#41169833)

The tanks leaking was not the reason for taking off with a low fuel load - see my post above.

In service, Concorde made plenty of profit for British Airways (no idea about Air France) and the clientele that flew on it loved it - it had a smooth, quiet ride and engine noise was not an issue for those in the cabin (the engines are set back toward the very end of the cabin and some distance from the fuselage, not to mention underneath a wing).

Re:Good (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41169677)

It's a way to get up the first few miles while accelerating to very high speed without needing as much fuel as a rocket. Once at high altitude a rocket propelled craft can detach and fire. Since it's already climbed a long way out of the earth's gravity well and is already at high speed it needs to carry much less fuel. That means it's far more efficient. Smaller rockets are required too, as it's not having to carry as much mass (fuel) to orbit.

It can't get you all the way to space, but it can get you half way there as a stage 1.

Re:Good (2)

Sparticus789 (2625955) | more than 2 years ago | (#41169763)

Jet engines are restricted to lower altitude use because of the lack of air. Scramjets have a higher ceiling, because they use a different intake process which requires less ambient air. So we go from needing lots of air (jet) to needing less air (scramjet). The next step would be an engine that does not require air (space). It's the next logical progression of engine development.

Walk, Jog, Run.

Bad (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41169565)

There was a significant lesson learnt with the Concorde, while it's possible to truck people around at supersonic speeds there just isn't any demand for it and it's an expensive system to maintain any way you cut it. Simply put: it's not viable.

Why bother with a difficult to maintain bomber anyway when several cheap to produce missiles can do the same job?

Re:Good (2)

sasparillascott (1267058) | more than 2 years ago | (#41169571)

Well, the idea of a hypersonic airliner sounds enticing, but drag increases at a square of the speed (if memory serves) - this is why you don't see supersonic airliners (they'd just burn too much fuel to be able to make a profit with) and hypersonic would be way, way more inefficient. As to the Russians doing this, it'd be cool to see them do it, but they could just use their ICBM's and get the bomb there faster... JMHO...

Re:Good (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41169963)

Even worse, it is proportional to the speed cubed, so if one goes twice as fast, one needs eight times the power to deal with the wind resistance.

Having such a plane would be very useful for Russia, and they don't have to do the tech advances themselves. Their close neighbors, the Chinese can offer any tech the US has for the right amount of yuan, so it is more of getting up to speed in making the planes as opposed to the hard part of trial and error.

Right (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41169583)

Glad someone else is stepping up to the plate

And it certainly isn't the people who are forced to pay for it.

Re:Good (1)

Dyinobal (1427207) | more than 2 years ago | (#41169595)

I like your optimism but after the loss of the Concord fleet I really doubt we will ever see supersonic much less hypersonic Jets again.

I honestly think low earth orbit transport is more realistic in the future when it comes to civilian transport

Re:Good (1)

Sparticus789 (2625955) | more than 2 years ago | (#41169701)

So I see two options:
1. Hypersonic travel is impractical and development is focused on low-orbit vehicles.
2. Hypersonic travel becomes practical and you can fly anywhere in the world in ~5 hours.

Seems like a win-win to me.

Re:Good (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41169735)

I like your optimism but after the loss of the Concord fleet I really doubt we will ever see supersonic much less hypersonic Jets again.

I honestly think low earth orbit transport is more realistic in the future when it comes to civilian transport

If you want high speed done right look at trains baby.
Of course normal trains can't reach hypersonic speeds, BUT trains traveling in a vacuum tunnel could.
Imagine huge vacuum tunnels connecting the different continents with trains traveling inside at several times the speed of sound. Fuck the airplanes. Enjoy the train ride.
How I would love to see such a project being undertaken by the different countries. Oh well hypersonic is less a dream than supersonic trains. A real pity. In the meantime we have to travel in subsonic aircrafts, treated like cattle and prostitues at the airports by the TSA goons.

Re:Good (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41169841)

Huge vacuum tunnels connecting continents? What, under the oceans? Over them? And the first time some nutjob blows himself up in those tunnels, how much and how long to repair them? With planes, even if people ram them into buildings, we can just fly different planes. You collapse a vacuum tunnel and the whole plan goes to hell for potentially years.

Re:Good (1)

Jeng (926980) | more than 2 years ago | (#41169979)

Wouldn't it be more efficient to propel such a set up with air pressure?

Push in as much air as possible behind the train while sucking it out of the other end. Have the whole thing run by large fans on either end.

Re:Good (1)

jandrese (485) | more than 2 years ago | (#41169645)

People already balked at the price of a Concorde ticket, getting them to pay even more for a Hypersonic Scramjet (and lets face it, the laws of physics are going to be harsh to your fuel prices) is probably not a sound business plan. 10 hour flights are annoying, but not $5000 annoying.

Re:Good (1)

beezly (197427) | more than 2 years ago | (#41169681)

Fifteen!? Luxury! From the UK you're looking at about 24 hours *flying* time, ignoring any time on the ground when you stop over somewhere in the middle. It's a good job I enjoy reading on flights :) Faster planes would be good... faster and more efficient planes would be amazing!

Re:Good (1)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | more than 2 years ago | (#41169747)

Development on such equipment could easily lead to civilian hypersonic aircraft

LOLOLOLOLOL

Civilian hypersonic flight will never, ever be economical. Not even supersonic flight, probably.

The only civilian hypersonic aircraft that might ever exist is a "toy fighter jet" for the ultra-stupendous-hyper-rich of the future.

"doesn't seem particularly realistic"? (3, Insightful)

G3ckoG33k (647276) | more than 2 years ago | (#41169537)

"doesn't seem particularly realistic"?

Huh? Sun Tzu: Never underestimate your opponent

Re:"doesn't seem particularly realistic"? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41169607)

Not to mention that Russia has always been on the forefront of aerospace technology. Their lists of firsts is unrivaled. It's very possible that they might succeed where the Americans have failed.

Re:"doesn't seem particularly realistic"? (-1, Troll)

paiute (550198) | more than 2 years ago | (#41170039)

Not to mention that Russia has always been on the forefront of aerospace technology. Their lists of firsts is unrivaled. It's very possible that they might succeed where the Americans have failed.

You are so right. And their aircraft come with bonus mystery rivet holes lacking in American versions.

Oooh! Cold War II!! (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41169543)

With the Military Industrial Complex as The Winner. Gotta insure that nothing stops the river of cash flowing into "defense" (on either side.)

Re:Oooh! Cold War II!! (1)

fredrated (639554) | more than 2 years ago | (#41169993)

Why is this post moded down to 0? This is exactly what is wrong with the military industrial complex; has slashdot already been taken over by Pentagon Propaganda Contractors? [slashdot.org]

The old is new again... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41169559)

The Russians should learn from the failures of history.

Failed Northrop Hustler
Failed XB-70 Valkyrie.

All for the same reason, missile defense systems increase performance much more rapidly than aircraft speed.
By the time your hypersonic bomber becomes operational, those missiles will catch up to you.

Didn't we go through this fast-bomber thing? (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41169561)

XB-70 Valkyrie on our side, and the Soviets had something along those lines as well.

Then surface-to-air missiles showed up, and it became clear no bomber could hope to outrun them, so we went with low-observable and/or terrain-following tech. Remember, it's easier to make a missile capable of X speed (just a motor, a warhead, and fuel for one quick interception) than a bomber flying X speed (many warheads, release mechanism, crew, and fuel to carry all that stuff a thousand miles), so you need a massive technological edge to win.

So... does Russia really think they can make hypersonic bombers, but some enemy that's worth using them on can't make even faster hypersonic SAMs?

Re:Didn't we go through this fast-bomber thing? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41169839)

However, the interceptor needs much more maneuverability to hit the target, and 10G's at 3000MPh is a hell of a feat.

Re:Didn't we go through this fast-bomber thing? (4, Informative)

Baloroth (2370816) | more than 2 years ago | (#41170013)

There are other uses to a hypersonic aircraft than simply dodging missiles. The ability to arrive on target in minutes instead of hours, for example. Plus, even if the bomber isn't technically faster than the missile, missiles have limited fuel capacity and require a certain reaction time before they can be fired, so if you can build a bomber fast enough, by the time the missile is fired it can't reach you before it runs out of fuel. This is even more true if you are traveling at extremely high altitudes. If you have a bomber traveling at Mach 5 (1 mile per second, roughly) and a missile traveling at Mach 6 launched at the bomber when it is 20 miles away (easily possible for a high altitude bomber to hit a target that far away), it will take 100 seconds to hit, in which time the missile must travel 120 miles, which is outside the range of, say, a Patriot missile (which travels at Mach 5). And the higher the speed, the more fuel it takes for the same distance. A bomber can afford that. It's a lot harder for a disposable missile to do the same.

Oh Russia (5, Funny)

mumblestheclown (569987) | more than 2 years ago | (#41169581)

You know, because a dictatorial kleptocracy with no political ideology to speak of and which is ranked #53 in per capita GDP needs to defend itself against brave young women in punk bands with these.

Re:Oh Russia (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41169707)

They need to restart the Cold War so the Russian people don't pay attention to the dude running the place.

Re:Oh Russia (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41169951)

And a hypersonic bomber is useless against the 60 million man army your neighbor with the insatiable appetite for oil will have soon.

Re:Oh Russia (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41169973)

No no no, they need them to blow up Krokodil [independent.co.uk] labs!

Put all this stuff in the hands of. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41169601)

Religitards like Mitt, and the end of humanity is very near.

Wouldn't you rather play a nice game of chess? (4, Funny)

xxxJonBoyxxx (565205) | more than 2 years ago | (#41169603)

>> Wouldn't you rather play a nice game of chess?

No. Let's play thermonuclear war.

>> Fine.

Re:Wouldn't you rather play a nice game of chess? (1)

Yoda222 (943886) | more than 2 years ago | (#41169933)

If Poutine starts playing chess against opponents, he will probably lose...

Russianized XB-70 (1)

BLToday (1777712) | more than 2 years ago | (#41169619)

There's been enough time and technological progress for the XB-70 to be successful. Fly-by-wire would fix the stability issue, modern materials would create a lighter airframe, and modern engines would make it more reliable. And since they're Russians, I expect the plane to be able to take off from a dirt road or ice sheet (Firefox).

Re:Russianized XB-70 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41169675)

Must think Russian

Re:Russianized XB-70 (2)

jandrese (485) | more than 2 years ago | (#41169741)

The real issue is: Will the Russian government be willing (and able!) to sink the billions of dollars worth of rubles into this project over the 20 or so years it will need? The 2020 date is crazy, this is a new frontier, 20 years is more likely, and only if there is full an continued support from the government.

Re:Russianized XB-70 (1)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | more than 2 years ago | (#41170021)

I hope there's something modern to make it much more powerful so it will go nearly twice as fast and reach hypersonic speeds.

Cheapter and easier (4, Insightful)

scorp1us (235526) | more than 2 years ago | (#41169637)

Given that the ISS is ~360 km from the Earth, and it has a 92 minute orbital period, it seems that bombs could be lifted into space, then launched from there. With sufficient supplies and advanced notice you could get enough stuff in position over the long term and deploy in minutes 4500mph = 2km/s and therefore could be at the surface in 180 seconds (3 minutes) once launched. Then there's the issue of changing orbit, which lets assume takes 1 orbit. So you can stike anywhere in the wold in 95 minutes. Can you fuel, prep and deploy a plane in that time? I think not.

Re:Cheapter and easier (2)

Nkwe (604125) | more than 2 years ago | (#41169745)

Given that the ISS is ~360 km from the Earth, and it has a 92 minute orbital period, it seems that bombs could be lifted into space, then launched from there. With sufficient supplies and advanced notice you could get enough stuff in position over the long term and deploy in minutes 4500mph = 2km/s and therefore could be at the surface in 180 seconds (3 minutes) once launched. Then there's the issue of changing orbit, which lets assume takes 1 orbit. So you can stike anywhere in the wold in 95 minutes. Can you fuel, prep and deploy a plane in that time? I think not.

Of course you have to get the bomb through the atmosphere and to the intended target without it burning up or exploding on the way down. The bomb would need to be in essence a re-entry vehicle. A lot of stuff can go wrong - like missing your target or filling the atmosphere with something toxic and widespread.

Re:Cheapter and easier (0, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41170031)

You do know that this is what ICBMs do now, right? They boost in to orbit and then make a guided decent to their target. That B stands for ballistic.
You might remember all the talk about anti-missile technology catching the ICBMs during their "boost" phase when they make their slower, easier to find (Big hot rocket trail you know) powered ascent to orbit. Once they've started to fall back to earth you're essentially screwed. We don't have anything that can catch or hit them.

Re:Cheapter and easier (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41169761)

That would cause the ISS to be shot down, and the benefit of having the ISS operational greatly outweigh any potential benefit of weapons platforms.

Re:Cheapter and easier (1)

scorp1us (235526) | more than 2 years ago | (#41169817)

It doesn't have to be the actual ISS, but something in a similar orbit.

Re:Cheapter and easier (2)

geekoid (135745) | more than 2 years ago | (#41169767)

"I think not."
Think again.

You'r mistake is thinking it would be 1 plane. It would be several located around the world, always in operation.

A space platform is an easy as hell target to hit, and you can't keep it secret.

Re:Cheapter and easier (3, Insightful)

fm6 (162816) | more than 2 years ago | (#41169799)

I think if anybody started positioning atomic weapons in orbit, people would get uptight. Maybe uptight enough to launch a pre-emptive strike.

Re:Cheapter and easier (2)

Chris Burke (6130) | more than 2 years ago | (#41169943)

Indeed they would.

Not that you need nukes to wreck things from orbit. A dense, sturdy object that's going at orbital velocity would itself pack the punch of a nuke (from tactical to strategic size depending on mass of impactor). Project Thor was the U.S. military's exploration of the idea.

Re:Cheapter and easier (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41169909)

Fueling and prepping is easy; you do it beforehand and keep it permanently in a ready-to-launch state. Remember that keeping an LEO weapon in a ready state isn't just a matter of tossing it up there and forgetting about it until you need it either; you will need regularly boost the orbit (you could also put the weapon in a higher orbit, but then that greatly reduces response time.) And why keep a weapon in orbit, which could as you point out be in the wrong place when the need arises, when you can just launch a suborbital weapon that will be delivered just as quickly if not sooner. That's what an ICBM is, and all putting bombs in orbit is doing is separating an ICBM's boost and reentry stages, with essentially an indefinitely long midcourse.

Oh, and there's the minor quibble of weaponizing space, treaties, etc.

Re:Cheapter and easier (1)

Ryanrule (1657199) | more than 2 years ago | (#41169915)

The satellite at the beginning of this video is called out as a nuclear launcher in the book.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SpvOUnz4T7Q [youtube.com]

Re:Cheapter and easier (1)

amicusNYCL (1538833) | more than 2 years ago | (#41169929)

Totally. We can ship our bombs up there and store them on our side, I can't see any other country having an issue with that. Then of course Russia would match us and store their own bombs there too, and whenever war breaks out we'll just bomb the other side of the ISS. That'll teach 'em. Hopefully the falling hulk will land on Russia, for good measure (or great justice).

Then there's the issue of changing orbit, which lets assume takes 1 orbit.

Right, let's just assume that the ISS is able to quickly change orbit at will so that it fits the point we're trying to make. Let's also ignore the fact that the only engines built into the ISS are in the Russian Zvezda module, and that it takes 3 hours over 2 orbits to simply adjust to a higher orbit (which is the only movement it does). Let's also assume that the computer that controls the entire ISS is inside the American section instead of the Russian section.

Re:Cheapter and easier (1)

dpilot (134227) | more than 2 years ago | (#41170011)

And on the defensive side, you know exactly where and when to look. And also, it actually isn't that easy to shoot something downward from orbit, especially if you want it to arrive in a non-molten, non-plasma state. True, it's only 3 minutes up, but it's also moving at 17,000 mph, and that's the hard part.

The problem is how to deliver a weapon to a target in your enemy's territory. A hypersonic craft is an attempt to do it so fast that your enemy can't react. Stealth is an attempt to get so close before your enemy detects you, that he can't react. There's a spectrum in between. For those who read, "The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress", throwing big rocks is something your enemy can detect, but can't effectively react to - in volume.

What a good question (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41169647)

"The question is will we copy the Americans' 40-year experience and create a [Northrop] B-2 analog or will we go down a new, ultramodern technology route, looking to the horizon, and create a machine able to penetrate air defenses and carry out a strike on any aggressor."

Hmm, let's see, will you copy the most advanced stealth bomber in the history of the world? My guess is no, you will not. Anything else you want to know? You can copy the new Transformers move, you can probably even copy a bootleg of Battleship (2012), but you will not be copying a highly classified, extremely well guarded piece of US defense technology any time soon. Sorry.

Inevitable (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41169703)

In Soviet Russia...jets fly YOU!

Valkyrie (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41169729)

The U.S. very nearly had its own supersonic bomber in the late 1960's. It was named the Valkyrie but funding was cut and it was decided that a supersonic bomber wasn't needed if we had ICBMs. However, the Soviets were aware of Valkyrie development and came up with the much overhyped MIG25 Interceptor. The U.S. in turn came up with the F15 Eagle.

HS cruise missiles (1)

DigiShaman (671371) | more than 2 years ago | (#41169743)

Wouldn't it make more sense to develop hypersonic nuclear armed cruise missiles instead? Why do they want to pack meat in a tin can with wings these days?

The Russians Need to Prove... (4, Funny)

fm6 (162816) | more than 2 years ago | (#41169771)

...that they're still a world power. That means building a lot of expensive, useless weapons, because that's what world powers do. Ah, for the good old days, when you could just round up the slaves and put up a pyramid!

Re:The Russians Need to Prove... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41169871)

REMEMBER MEEE!

They's likely have something by 2020 (1, Interesting)

Kagato (116051) | more than 2 years ago | (#41169783)

The Russians are quite good at iterative design and have been for decades. They'll built a jet, make improvements, build another, make more improvements, and so on. The end result is they tend to have programs that operate at a fraction of the cost of the US analog. But what they have at 2020 won't be anywhere close to what the US has. It may never be anywhere close to the US as they have always had trouble with collecting the intellectual capital to compete with high paying US Defense contractors. In the past there wasn't enough incentive. Time will as they have had more privatization in the last decade.

Checked Craigslist? (5, Funny)

macraig (621737) | more than 2 years ago | (#41169785)

Russia Wants a Hypersonic Bomber

What a coincidence! I happen to be selling one [craigslist.org] on Craigslist right now.

Super Cavitation (1)

j-stroy (640921) | more than 2 years ago | (#41169811)

I believe it. Russian Engineering always seems to have its house in order. They have experience with Super Cavitation [wikipedia.org] and perhaps there is some applicable cross over tech. Lets not forget that a rocket plane is feasible. If it was me, I'd remove the hypersonic engine as a dependency from the get go and allow design to progress in that area once other issues are proven by flight testing and there is a solid platform to test and evolve the engine upon. Even if the platform never gets an upgraded engine, an actual plane generates better press than arm waving and exploding engine tests.

Star Wars 2.0 (1)

onyxruby (118189) | more than 2 years ago | (#41169813)

Brilliant!

It's Star Wars 2.0 and were going to bankrupt the commies into self destruction once more! They took the bait and will sink billions upon billions trying to do something that /should/ work.

/Star Wars 3.0 will involve convincing the Russians that fusion can be used as a weapons platform, that ought to do the trick

//Wait a second, I thought they weren't commies any more.....

I got a plan (1)

ddd0004 (1984672) | more than 2 years ago | (#41169819)

Let's get Clint Eastwood to steal that bad boy.

How far behind US technology? (1)

Wowsers (1151731) | more than 2 years ago | (#41169821)

U.S., meanwhile, has been investing in its Waverider program since 2004, and the last test of the X-51A scramjet-powered missile failed after just 15 seconds

So with the Russians just starting on hypersonic engine design, looks to me like they are only 15 seconds behind the US :)

New/Old Russian Bomber (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41169835)

Didn't the Russians try something like this a long time ago?
http://englishrussia.com/2009/01/25/russian-flying-fortresses/

Patton was right. (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41169859)

We should've fucked them up following WW2. Russia might actually be worth a shit by now.

this is good! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41169903)

maybe it will be powered by a fusion reactor!

Want a bomber? Here's one... (3, Insightful)

MiniMike (234881) | more than 2 years ago | (#41169925)

The Russians want their plane operational by 2020, which doesn't seem particularly realistic — we are talking about five times the speed of sound here, and Russia is just starting engine development. The U.S., meanwhile, has been investing in its Waverider program since 2004, and the last test of the X-51A scramjet-powered missile failed after just 15 seconds.

Maybe they'll be funding computer hacking/espionage methods instead of scramjet or hypersonic airplane development- that way, they'll have a hypersonic bomber (plans, at least) soon after we do, at a fraction of the development costs.

Or maybe they'll just think they have the plans [wikipedia.org] .

2020 Timeline (2)

aardwolf64 (160070) | more than 2 years ago | (#41169939)

Of course, that timeline depends on them discovering alien technology in 2019 and not destroying it until 2020.

Race (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41170001)

Yeah the race is on!

Could be too costly (4, Funny)

gmuslera (3436) | more than 2 years ago | (#41170037)

Please, don't do it with rounded wings, not sure how much it will cost to build it, but the lawsuit could be in the order of billons of dollars.
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