Hypersonic Weapons

By: Daniel Nardini

Lawndale News Chicago's Bilingual Newspaper - Commentary

In 1945, the United States invented a weapon that forever changed the world—the atomic bomb. What the United States, China and Russia are doing now may have as great and dramatic an impact on this world as the atomic bomb did at the end of World War II. In this case I am talking about hypersonic weapons. This can include missiles or even aircraft. Hypersonic is traveling at mach 5 or faster, and means that an object can
travel of up speeds 6,000 miles per hour or faster. At such speeds radar would have no real chance of detecting an incoming weapon or craft, and no real defense. But why develop such weaponry? First, there would be no defense against it. Anything traveling at 28 to 35 times the speed of sound would not likely be intercepted. Second, such weapons would prove ideal for taking out terrorist bases, rogue state’s nuclear arsenals (like North Korea’s), and hitting enemy targets in case of a conflict with such countries like China and Russia.

One advantage with hypersonic weapons is that they can be fired immediately. If the United States wanted to hit, for example, a terrorist base camp, it would have to first prepare logistics for such an attack. This could include transporting elite military personnel aboard aircraft carriers, flying them in, and then implanting elite military personnel at the strike point without being detected. With hypersonic weapons, all that has to be done is give the order and position the weapon. While such a weapon sounds like the best alternative to more conventional military means, there are some serious problems yet to be dealt with in regards to hypersonic weapons. Because they travel at extreme speeds, the real problem is to keep them under control. At hypersonic speeds, such weapons could lose control or disintegrate. Another problem is making such weapons maintain a stable speed for a long enough period to work. It is one thing to say that we can maintain a missile at above mach 5, but another to actually do it. Whatever the work that is going on now, and how far the United States, China and Russia have come in developing such weapons, we only know that they are developing such weapons. They realize that hypersonic weapons are the next step for the future, and they will have an important impact on our world.

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