The Diplomat: U.S. Eyes Hypersonic Missiles

25.04.12

Categorie: Air, David Axe, Research, The Diplomat |
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HTV-2. Wired art.

HTV-2. Wired art.

by DAVID AXE

The U.S. military’s more than decade-old effort to produce a hypersonic global strike weapon just took a big step forward and a big step back. On April 20, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, or Darpa, published the results of an engineering review of a key hypersonic vehicle test.

On August 11, Darpa launched Hypersonic Test Vehicle 2, a wedge-shaped robotic craft meant to reach 20 times the speed of sound and travel for 30 minutes. HTV-2, boosted into the upper atmosphere by a Minotaur rocket, flew for only nine minutes before crashing into the Pacific Ocean. A previous test in 2010 using a similar test vehicle also ended in failure nine minutes into the flight.

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