Donald Trump touts “super-duper missile” at unveiling of official Space Force flag
The new banner represents the first branch of the military initiated since the U.S. Air Force was separated from the Army in 1947. The new missile, Trump claims, will be 17 times faster than anything the Chinese or Russians have. As my colleague and civilian rocket enthusiast Mark Sumner wrote in January about U.S. research into hypersonic missiles, the prospect of these weapons is scary indeed.
By Meteor Blades
They could arrive at their target many times faster than cruise missiles and ICBMs. This leaves almost no time to detect, decide, and defeat them. All that’s left for a defender is a massive counterstrike, a nuclear exchange that in the global aftermath, as scientists pointed out in the 1970s, the living would envy the dead.
Trump’s claim for the missile’s alleged speed, laconically confirmed by Defense Secretary Mark Esper, is more than a bit hard to believe. Russian President Vladimir Putin late last year boasted that the Kremlin’s hypersonic Avangard missile can hit 27 times the speed of sound, nearly 21,000 mph, and fall like a meteor on enemy targets. It could carry a nuclear warhead of 2 megatons, 133 times the explosive power of the bomb dropped on Hiroshima 75 years ago.
If the “super-duper” U.S. missile Trump claims with Esper’s help can go 17 times faster than the alleged speed of Russia’s hypersonic missile, it would race to its target at 352,000 mph. Meaning it could hit a target on the moon in 45 minutes or 17 days on Mars if there were anything to blast on either orb.
Of course, when it comes to telling the truth about weapons systems or much of anything, Putin and Trump are peas in a pod.