The U.S. military has unveiled a hypersonic flying missile that can strike a target anywhere in the world in just 30 minutes, according to the Daily Mail. The Advanced Hypersonic Weapon (AHW), which travels five times the speed of sound, was successfully tested yesterday. It was launched by rocket from Hawaii at 11.30am, glided south westwards through the upper atmosphere over the Pacific at ‘hypersonic speed’ before hitting its target on the Kwajalein atoll in the Marshall Islands – some 2,500 miles away.
The development comes hot on the heels of the U.S. Air Force announcement that it has taken delivery of eight, 15-ton bunker buster bombs, called the Massive Ordnance Penetrator, that can blow apart 200ft of concrete. If the advanced AHW technology is successful, it will mean America will no longer have to rely on stationing missiles in foreign countries. Although, the Pentagon did not reveal exactly how fast the AHW, which unlike traditional ballistic missiles can be manoeuvred, reached, spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Melinda Morgan said the test was aimed at gathering data on ‘aerodynamics, navigation, guidance and control, and thermal protection technologies’.
The U.S. Army’s AHW project is part of the ‘Prompt Global Strike’ programme which seeks to give the U.S. military the means to deliver conventional weapons anywhere in the world within an hour. Scientists classify hypersonic speeds as those that exceed Mach 5 – or five times the speed of sound – 3,728 miles per hour. On August 11, the Pentagon is reported to have test flew another hypersonic glider dubbed HTV-2, which is capable of flying 16,776 miles per hour. The AHW’s range is less than that of the HTV-2, the Congressional Research Service said in a report, without providing specifics.
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