Sunday, November 20, 2011

Advanced Hypersonic Weapon (AHW): It looks like a Falcon HTV-2, it acts like a Falcon HTV-2... but it's not a Falcon HTV-2?

We all remember the huge press announcements that came with the second launch of the Falcon Project in August 2011, with the first test flight only lasting 9 minutes before being deliberately crashed as a safety measure due to technical difficulties.

The Darpa Falcon Project is a Joint project between Defense Advanced Research Projects Agnecy (DARPA) and the United States Air force (USAF) to develop reusable Rapid Strike Hypersonic Weapon System (HWS) but has since been retitled Hypersonic Cruise Vehicle (HCV).

The first Test flight first flew on 22nd April 2010, which was followed by a second test Flight on the 11th August 2011. Both flights failed (both failed to fly controlled over 9 minutes).

Back in August it did seem very strange that this was conducted so openly in view of the media; they even provided the launch video for this 2nd testing. However, if you were spending billions on a new weapon with a completion date of 2025, would you share such a mega-project so openly with the world's public in 2011?

Now, with two failed attempts behind them, and making noises that Falcon has been scrapped due to the failed previous flights, they have suddenly just 3 months later shown us The Advanced Hypersonic Weapon (AHW), which is 12ft long like the Falcon, which can hold up to 12,000 lbs payload (a little bit more than the Falcon), and made from carbon composite materials to withstand up to 2000C (which is 1200C more than the Falcon).

So, they managed to make a stronger, more heat resistant Falcon lookalike and got it to fly successfully within 3 months? Maybe this is the case because the AHW is 13,000 miles per hour slower, but still, is it not convenient that this machine of war is ready just in time when everyone is walking on hot coals around Iran?

This weapon, craft, or whatever they want to call it has likely been ready for years. They have denied the existence of hypersonic weapons for just as long, but now suddenly this year admitted they were working on such a device, with the caveat that the completion date wouldn't be until 2025 and that the entire project could even be scrapped if the 2nd test flight failed. Such a failure may have been exactly what they wanted the world to witness, hence the huge publicity surrounding the 2nd flight test. Was this all aimed at camouflaging their real research and development activities?

As for the Advanced Hypersonic Weapon itself, we may well see this in use sooner rather than later.