• Pentagon Is Working On A Craft That Can Travel 5 Times The Speed Of Sound

    The Air Force is currently developing an aircraft that can travel at hypersonic speeds, that is, five times the speed of sound.

    First successfully tested in 2013, the Air Force, in conjunction with the Pentagon, hopes to build on that success to release the X-51A Waverider by 2023, the Inquisitr reports.

    The X-51A is an unmanned and autonomous craft designed to ride its own shockwave.

    For the test in 2013, a B-52H Stratofortess bomber took the X-51A up 50,000 feet in the air before it launched the aircraft, which then exhausted its entire supply of fuel in 240 seconds and proceeded to crash into the Pacific Ocean as planned. It traveled 230 nautical miles in about 6 minutes.

    A cruise missile can only reach a maximum of 600 miles per hour, whereas the X-51A can hit up to Mach 5, or 4,000 miles per hour.

    While 240 seconds is certainly a record, the military hopes to use the Waverider for much longer flights in order to transport supplies. Using it to transport personnel is out of the question, as the g-forces are more than enough to kill a human. At a speed of Mach 5, the Waverider could travel from Los Angeles to New York in approximately 30 minutes, and within four hours, the craft could reach any location in the world.

    Apart from moving equipment, China, Russia and the United States are racing to develop hypersonic weapons. China’s hypersonic vehicle, the Wu-14, reportedly has a maximum speed of 7,000 miles per hour. Last year, Republicans issued a joint statement following China’s hypersonic missile tests.

    “While round after round of defense cuts have knocked America’s technological advantage on its back, the Chinese and other competitor nations push towards military parity with the United States; in some cases, as in this one, they appear to be leaping ahead of us,” the lawmakers wrote. “This situation does nothing to support peaceful coexistence in the Pacific. We have dithered for three decades now, delaying badly needed replacement equipment for our troops, relying on hardware that was built during the Reagan years.”

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