The X-51A Waverider: Pentagon’s Hypersonic Long-Range Rapid Attack WeaponPosted: March 20, 2014
Bill Gertz reports: An experimental scramjet-powered, ultrahigh speed strike vehicle is emerging as the Pentagon’s main choice for a new long-range, rapid attack weapon, a seniorPentagon official says.
Alan R. Shaffer, principal deputy assistant defense secretary for research and engineering, told a defense industry conference that prototypes and recent tests proved concepts for hypersonic arms, and several systems are part of a high-priority effort by Pentagon weapons developers, despite the era of sharply-diminished defense spending.
The comments come 2 1/2 months after China’s surprise Jan. 9 test of a new hypersonic glide vehicle, dubbed the Wu-14. That ultrahigh speed maneuvering vehicle test represents a major challenge for current U.S. missile defenses, which are designed to counter non-maneuvering ballistic missile threats.
Lee Fuell, a technical intelligence specialist with the Air Force National Air and Space Intelligence Center, told a congressional China commission hearing Jan. 31 that China’s hypersonic glide vehicle is a ballistic missile-launched system that glides and maneuvers to its target at speeds up to Mach 10 (about 7,611 mph).
“At this point, we think that’s associated with their nuclear deterrent forces,” saidMr. Fuell, who noted the Chinese could use the system with conventional warheads for long-range precision strikes.
- US to Test Hypersonic Missile in August (thediplomat.com)
- China Tested Last Week a Hypersonic Missile Vehicle (matthewaid.com)
- China Conducts First Test of New Ultra-High Speed Missile Vehicle (lunaticoutpost.com)
- PLA’s hypersonic vehicle can travel 10 times the speed of sound: report (5continentnews.wordpress.com)
- PLA’s hypersonic vehicle can travel 10 times the speed of sound: report (nosint.blogspot.com)
- PLA’s hypersonic vehicle can travel 10 times the speed of sound (outrageousminds.wordpress.com)
- China Conducts First Test of New Ultra-High Speed Missile Vehicle (freebeacon.com)
- Hypersonic arms race is on as China tests high-speed missile to beat U.S. defenses (washingtontimes.com)
- Hypersonic Weapons Face Major Milestone In August Test (breakingdefense.com)
- Pentagon: USA Has No Counter to Chinese Hypersonic Missile (strategika51.wordpress.com)