Monday, April 23, 2012

The Falcon Hypersonic Technology Vehicle 2

The  Falcon Hypersonic Technology Vehicle 2 just completed it's second flight test.


The  arrowhead-shaped unmanned aircraft  was launched from from Vandenberg Air Force Base, northwest of Santa Barbara, into the upper reaches of the Earth's atmosphere aboard an eight-story Minotaur IV rocket.

http://www.latimes.com/business/money/la-fi-mo-darpa-hypersonic-missile-20120420,0,4564567.story

After reaching an undisclosed altitude, the aircraft jettisoned its protective cover atop the rocket, then nose-dived back toward Earth, leveled out and glided above the Pacific at  Mach 20.

At a speed of almost 13,000 MPH, portions of the Falcon’s skin peeled away from it's surface which abruptly destroyed the vehicle.

It lasted almost three minutes at that speed and in the searing heat of over 3,500F.

Well and good, one must suppose. But then, one might ask what the purpose of this vehicle is?

We are told this new technology would provide the Pentagon with a lightning-fast vehicle, capable of delivering a military strike anywhere in the world in less than an hour.

Hmmmm.

We already have lightning-fast vehicles that can deliver a military strike anywhere in the world... In less than 20 minutes,  three times faster than this new 320 million-dollar(so far) craft. They are called ICBM's.

This vehicle needs to be launched aboard an eight-story Minotaur IV rocket, which could be an effective ICBM all by itself.  So why is this new additional stage - with it's additional cost - being introduced in the process of delivering a warhead on target?

What's the advantage of being able to fly at 13,000MPH in the atmosphere? If the purpose is to deliver a military strike in the fastest time possible, flying through the atmosphere is certainly not the way to do it.

If this thing is to be developed into a delivery vehicle that can zip over to a target and launch a missile or warhead,  it may be able to get there in a hurry, but it will have to slow WAY down to launch  anything, since it's weapons will have to be carried inside the craft or be  ripped off in flight.  At that point, it becomes just another everyday drone over the target, doing what we can already do from many of our many overseas bases. If it is intended to be a one-way flight to destroy itself  along with the target, we have cruise missiles doing that already.

So, in a time where we are all trying to get a handle on spending in an effort to keep from enslaving our kids for their entire lives trying to pay off government-created debt, we find the military-industrial complex blowing hundreds of millions on things we just don't need right now, to do jobs we can already do.

Low-altitude high-speed research is a fine thing to do when it can be afforded. Right now we can't afford it.






1 comment:

Galt-in-Da-Box said...

But Bob, think of all those FULSOBs working for military CONtractors who would have to get real jobs & grow up if this pork-barrel was shot down?
I think of all the reinvent-the-wheel pork-barrels we don't know about that probably cost more!