Monday, January 01, 2007

Hypersonic Weapons Will Become The Next Warfare Technology Battleground

When Russian President Vladimir Putin announced that his nation was testing and ready to deploy some new hypersonic weapons in 2005, it was only further proof that despite the supposed end of the Cold War, that the next technology battleground would be with ultramodern high tech hypersonic weapons.

The Russian hypersonic cruise missiles are supposedly able to fly much faster than any current American antimissile can shoot them down. But that Russian advantage likely will be very short lived. The U.S. has a few hypersonic projects that are supposed to be top secret , but enough details have been publicly leaked in Pentagon budget requests and other scientific magazine and website areas that these programs are probably better known to most nation's intelligence services than thought.

In 2003, the U.S. actually began a hypersonic weapons program with the aim of being able to hit a target within two hours of launch or less. Some of these weapons are so high tech that it may be 2025 before they can fully deployed.

But for now the area of fastest speed seems to remain in the field of spy plane technology. A Pentagon budget request once leaked the details of a hypersonic U.S. spy plane called the Aurora which is thought to be able to fly at speeds up to mach 6, which is far faster than previous generations of spy planes such as the SR-71 Blackbird or the U2 spy plane. The Blackbird was able to fly nearly coast to coast across the U.S. in about 55 minutes. It actually leaked fuel on the launch pad and was virtually red hot when it landed. It was nearly a rocket ship and the pilot nearly an astronaut.

It is also possible that the Aurora hypersonic spy plane no longer exists due to extremely high costs when unmanned space spy technology exists with satellites or unmanned earthbound drones. A 2006 British military report does however claim that there are three "Black Plane Projects" in the world currently, with all three American. Other nations such as Russia or China apparently lack the technology, or are relying on satellite intelligence for their miltary efforts.

Maybe hypersonic aircraft will or will not be fully realized, but hypersonic missile technolgy seems the next logical step in the military technology escalation of the future.


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