Hypersonic weapon detonated after lift-off: US military

Aug 25, 2014
A rendering of a hypersonic vehicle

The US military had to detonate a hypersonic weapon seconds after lift-off Monday due to a technical problem, cutting short a flight test for the experimental project, officials said.

"Less than four seconds into the lift-off phase, we terminated the flight," Pentagon spokeswoman Maureen Schumann told AFP.

The decision to abort the flight test in Alaska was due to a technological "anomaly," she said, without providing more details.

The launch of the "Advanced Hypersonic Weapon" occurred after 4 am local time at the Kodiak Launch Complex in Alaska, Pentagon officials said.

The weapon is part of the Pentagon's "prompt global strike" program designed to build conventional weapons that could take out targets anywhere on the planet within an hour's notice.

"Due to an anomaly, the test was terminated near the launch pad shortly after lift-off to ensure public safety," the Pentagon said in a statement.

There were no injuries in the incident, it said, adding that officials are conducting an "extensive investigation" to determine what went wrong.

A previous flight test for the weapon was carried out in November 2011.

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User comments : 15

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1 / 5 (6) Aug 25, 2014
Since when US military cared about public interest? I seriously doubt that to be the reason for termination.
1 / 5 (5) Aug 25, 2014
-technological anomaly- I just wanna jump into the sci-fi world and propose hyperactive killer A.I !!!!!! =p j/p
4 / 5 (2) Aug 25, 2014
The single question that comes to my mind with this delivery system for conventional weapons is how can the Russians or Chinese tell it apart from the launch and flight of a nuclear armed ICBM? Would seem to me to be a pertinent question that needs to be answered before we start tossing these around.
5 / 5 (1) Aug 25, 2014
@AZWarrior: I believe it has a different flight trajectory. Though, I suppose they wouldn't be comfortable still since this could probably also carry a nuke.
1 / 5 (2) Aug 25, 2014
Is the headline intentionally misleading?
One interpretation could be the 'weapon' was live and armed and accidentally detonated instead of the flight vehicle 'weapon' being fully instrumented and controllers terminated the flight due to an anomaly, just as Space X did recently.
3 / 5 (2) Aug 25, 2014
Four seconds is a failure of the launch vehicle, not the test vehicle.
not rated yet Aug 26, 2014
how much did it cost?
5 / 5 (1) Aug 26, 2014
Four seconds is a failure of the launch vehicle, not the test vehicle.

The incident is a failure not only of the launch vehicle but also of the whole test(no launch => no success).
Lex Talonis
Aug 26, 2014
This comment has been removed by a moderator.
5 / 5 (4) Aug 26, 2014
Ah ! The usual critics sound off !!

The little screed by Lex Talonis restores my faith in the belief that which is foul and nasty will generally float to the top.
1 / 5 (2) Aug 26, 2014
... tell it apart from the launch and flight of a ... ICBM?
ICBM = ... Ballistic. Falcon Project (by any other name) is not a ballistic vehicle.

MOLON LABE applies to so much more than merely arms, as Lex obviously knows.
1 / 5 (1) Aug 26, 2014
The single question that comes to my mind with this delivery system for conventional weapons is how can the Russians or Chinese tell it apart from the launch and flight of a nuclear armed ICBM?

The nasty thing is that these suborbital, hypervelocity systems aren't covered (read: limited in numbers) by any treaty.

...not that the current 'limit' on ICBMs prevents massive overkill or anything.
1 / 5 (2) Aug 26, 2014
how much did it cost?

Cheaper than free healthcare.
Captain Stumpy
5 / 5 (2) Aug 26, 2014
how can the Russians or Chinese tell it apart from the launch and flight of a nuclear armed ICBM?
we normally don't let the press know about our ICBM tactical/strategic launches as it would give away the surprise... so the media surrounding the launch as well as the payload would likely be a dead giveaway

we invite the press to watch science missions/launches

I doubt seriously that the gov't would invite the press to a tactical/strategic strike launch... but given some of the other stupid moments in history, I also cannot be sure that they wouldn't
not rated yet Aug 26, 2014
Meanwhile China has been testing their equivalent weapon for some time now.
not rated yet Sep 01, 2014
Not one objection to the fact that the US/CHINA/RUSSIA govt's are all committing vast financial reserves to this new weapons race whilst employment, environment and the well being of individuals worldwide is declining or being actively suppressed....Humanity deserves the violent and short-lived end that is obviously coming - after all, who let the psychopaths take charge ? oh yes, you and me....

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