Military specialist Says hypersonic warhead The next big thing in intercontinental warfare. They see emerging weapons that can deliver nuclear or conventional warheads, such as shaking five miles a second time, zigzagging through the atmosphere to eject early warning satellites and some interceptors. . Superfast weapon, Experts say, lend themselves to sparking attacks.
President Trump Is boastful Also about his “super-droppers” Mention of planned weapon As “hydrosonic”, a brand Of electric toothbrush. Their budget last year Asked the Pentagon Spending $ 3.2 billion on hypersonic weapons research up to $ 600 million from last year’s request. And as president-elect, Joseph R. Biden Jr. commands the nation’s military, he has to consider whether to keep up with the defense work done in the Trump years.
Now, independent experts have studied the technical performance of the weapon employed and have concluded that its advertised features are more misleading than actual. Analyze them To be published this week In Science and Global Security.
in an interview, David wrightA physicist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and an author of the new analysis called superpipulation a mirage.
“There are too many claims and not many numbers,” he said. “If you put in numbers, you find that the claims are nonsense.”
Military officials called the paper inconsistent, it was based on older figures. But he refused to disclose the new findings.
“Due to the classified nature of hypersonic technologies, we are not at liberty to publicly discuss current capabilities,” Jared adamsThe chief spokesperson, for the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, or DARPA, said in an email.
Richard L. Garvin, A physicist and longtime consultant for the federal government, called the paper “very good and important”. He said that he had provided his equal criticism of hypersonic warfare to defense officials.
James M. ActonA nuclear analyst at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, called the paper “a serious, reliable and important piece of work”.
Dr. Wright is affiliated with MIT Laboratory for Nuclear Safety and Policy And analyzed with Cameron L. TracyOn a material scientist Union of Concerned ScientistsA private group based in Cambridge, Mass., Which often controls arms.
By definition, hypersonic vehicles fly at more than five times the speed of sound – or dozens of times faster than jetliners. Warheads rise up into space as a long-range missile, but then quickly descend into maneuvers to bank, keiren and otherwise into the atmosphere. They are basically stubborn gliders. The curved upper surface of their wedge-shaped bodies gives them something to do with the lifting power of an airplane wing.
Dr. Wright and Drs. Tracy’s analysis is based on Hypersonic technology vehicle 2 – An experimental warhead developed by the Air Force and Darpa. Their findings, they say, also apply to other American prototypes, as well as devices being developed by China, Russia and other countries.
Computer simulations drew on the physics of moving bodies and public revelations about the hypersonic technology Vehicle 2 to model its most admirable flight routes. The crew zeroed in on the signature stages of hypersonic flight – when the vehicle passes through the atmosphere and then dips to hit a target.
Two experts say their computer modeling fills in public gaps on the weapon’s overall performance as well as its potential interaction with existing military systems to detect and defeat weapons launched from distant sites.
In his letter, he sees the weapon essentially failing to take out early-warning satellites and interceptors. For example, the current generation of space-based sensors, they report, will be able to track the weapon’s furious twists and turns during most of their flight through the atmosphere.
And unsurprisingly, given the weapon’s sharp reputation, he says his analysis shows that it will fly intercontinental distances much slower than ballistic missiles and indifferent to warheads fired on low-flying routes Known as the trajectory. In war, such a strategy is seen as A good way for attackers to avoid interceptors and reduce warning time.
Dr. Wright and Drs. Tracy concludes that the new weapon envisaged is, at best, “evolutionary – not revolutionary”.
In their paper, the authors contrast their findings with military claims. For example, they bid 2019 Senate testimony General John E. Hyten, an Air Force officer in charge of the US Strategic Command, which controls the country’s nuclear missiles. It would take a hypersonic battle to complete an attack, General Highton said, “could be” half that of a standard missile. “It could be even less,” he said.
The confrontation between public views of hypersonic warheads and their actual capabilities, the two experts conclude, stems from overstated official claims, meaning “to justify the expenditure necessary for their development and deployment”.
us Army Currently researching A half dozen hypersonic weapons. Dr. Wright said that limited knowledge of their functioning and flight data made the improved hypersonic technology vehicle the best available window for the current state and future prospects of prototype arms.
The team’s analysis, he said, focuses on an underlying issue of physics in which he states that new classes of weapons in general are suspect.
This is what aeronautical engineers call the lift-to-drag ratio. The buzzword is a measure of power versus drag. The lift pushes the body up to a fast aerodynamic and Atmospheric drag The stall tries to counter the forward motion, giving the worst sign.
Dr. Wright said a lift-to-drag ratio of 2.6 has been used in team analysis of the hypersonic vehicle. In contrast, the ratio of jetliners and some birds is about eight times higher. In other words, the best warheads are ineffective fliers.
He said that a large number of undergarments could also be drawn on the force of limited force to produce curved, limited hot forces, which claimed that the weapon could fly long distances over complex trajectories.
“Until they have found some magical way to maintain these systems,” Dr. “They are going to have problems,” Wright said.
Policy experts are expected to focus on promoting arms control to the Biden administration, and it is likely that the Trump administration’s plan for hypersonic warheads will receive close scrutiny. Hypersonic weapons are among the topics that defense experts see the administration officials addressing in early talks with Russia and China, including the possibility of finding ways to impose sanctions.
Ned Price, a spokesman for the Biden transition team, declined to comment on the issue of hypersonic warheads.
“President-Elect Joe Biden will have an experienced team to resolve through these complex issues,” Hans Bindijk, A former National Security Council official, Wrote last month In suggesting measures to curb arms control. “But it will take time and creativity to succeed.”