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Hypersonic flying bomb tested successfully by the Pentagon

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
November 20th, 2011
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

In a move that significantly ups U.S. military might, the Pentagon successfully tested the flight of a flying bomb that travels faster than the speed of sound. The development will now grant military planners the ability to strike targets anywhere across the globe in less than an hour.

LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Launched by rocket from Hawaii, the "Advanced Hypersonic Weapon," or AHW, flew through the upper atmosphere over the Pacific Ocean "at hypersonic speed" before hitting its target on the Kwajalein atoll in the Marshall Islands. Kwajalein is about 2,500 miles southwest of Hawaii. The Pentagon did not say what top speeds were reached by the vehicle, which unlike a ballistic missile is maneuverable.

Scientists classify hypersonic speeds as those that exceed Mach 5, or five times the speed of sound, 3,728 miles an hour.

The test aimed to gather data on "aerodynamics, navigation, guidance and control, and thermal protection technologies," Lieutenant Colonel Melinda Morgan, a Pentagon spokeswoman said.

The US Army's AHW project is part of the "Prompt Global Strike" program which seeks to give the U.S. military the means to deliver conventional weapons anywhere in the world within an hour.

The Pentagon test previously flew another hypersonic glider dubbed HTV-2, which is capable of flying 27,000 kilometers per hour, but it was a failure.

The AHW's range is less than that of the HTV-2, the Congressional Research Service said in a report, without providing specifics.

The Pentagon has invested $239.9 million dollars in the Global Strike program in 2011, including 69 million for the flying bomb this week.

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