The U.S. Army's hypersonic weapon prototype streaked across the Pacific Ocean at several times the speed of sound Thursday, Nov. 17, in a flawless maiden test flight. The success could pave the way for a new military capability to strike targets anywhere on Earth in as little as an hour.
Such a hypersonic weapon concept flies at a relatively flat trajectory within the atmosphere, rather than soaring up toward space like a ballistic missile and eventually coming back down. Hypersonic speed is defined as being at least five times the speed of sound (3,805 mph, or 6,124 kph, at sea level).
The Army's success Thursday was built upon lessons learned from two hypersonic test flights carried out by the Pentagon's research arm, called DARPA, in April 2010 and August 2011.
The Army's Advanced Hypersonic Weapon launched aboard a three-stage booster system from the Pacific Missile Range Facility on the island of Kauai in Hawaii at 6:30 AM ET, deployed for its hypersonic glide, and eventually splashed down in the Reagan Test Site located near the Kwajalein Atoll.
Strike anywhere on Earth in an hour? Not that is what I call peace through strength.