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USA: the Air Force is about to test a strange hypersonic weapon

USA: the Air Force is about to test a strange hypersonic weapon

According to the US Air Force, in the coming weeks, a B-52H bomber will launch a missile at unprecedented speed. If all goes according to plan, the missile will reach speeds of more than five times the speed of sound before igniting a fictional second stage that will promptly “disintegrate” somewhere in the atmosphere. The missile, known as AGM-183A, is supposed to be the first hypersonic weapon in the US arsenal.

The extraordinary and disturbing potential of the new hypersonic weapon

According to a statement from the Air Force, the missile is expected to move so quickly through the atmosphere and at so low altitudes that it is impossible for enemy missile defense systems to fire into the air. This blazing speed would make it capable of destroying critical and high-value targets. Normally the operation of hypersonic missiles, including this one, involves two phases.

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First, a rocket propels the weapon to one speed that exceeds the speed of sound by many times, while maintaining a much lower altitude than ICBMs that soar above the atmosphere before delivering their nuclear payloads. Second, the missile ejects a glider carrying the weapon for the final stretch of its journey to the goal, riding the atmosphere like a surfer moving on the waves.

However, the United States is not the only country that is working on hypersonic weapons technology. In 2018, Russian President Vladimir Putin announced for the first time the debut of his country’s hypersonic weapons program. Pavel Podvig, a military analyst, said at the time that such weapons are likely not going to be useful, explaining that there was talk of a mission-seeking weapon and that, in his opinion, there was no real need for this type of weapon. ability as it doesn’t change much in terms of your ability to hit targets.