Nazi Germany’s V rocket projects, the Hiroshima bomb, agent orange, China’s 100 million man army, doomsday devices, the public relations value of weapons technology is no secret. Generals and despots have been touting fighting superiority since before the 300 Spartans. Today, even the “failed” testing of America’s Falcon HTV-2 takes the propaganda game into the 21st Century.
Not too many people out there have ever heard of the DARPA Falcon Project, let alone the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). However, a failed test flight of the vehicle capable of speeds in excess of 13,000 mph is big news. The US Air Force, in partnership with DARPA, has been developing what they have termed a “Hypersonic Cruise Vehicle” for some years now. The capability of this “bullet” is being “pitched” as a conventional weapon system, but anyone with half a military brain knows dumping nuclear warheads on an enemy in minutes, from orbit, is the real “killer” application of this technology.
The news today from these agencies is that a test went sour when the Air Force lost communications with the craft – losing the vehicle into the sea. But tomorrow’s news will likely be some armistice talks with China or any other country trying to “leverage” the United States. For, when push comes to shove, competitors revert to what they are best at, and the US is best at building weapons and arms races too. We used one to end the Cold War – or so we thought.
Take a look at this sleek new craft and make your own mind up as to the usability of such things. Is a one megaton warhead from this technological marvel the real bang for the buck, or is it the PR value of capability? Imagine a Trident nuclear sub (the deadliest weapon in any nation’s arsenal) armed with 24 Trident MIRV’s (each carries 10 of these babies) carrying these Falcons. For those unaware, think of a Trident Sub, laying off the coast of Singapore (we would never attack them, but just for the example).
The Falcon weapons theoretically (and soon in reality) have the capability to strike Los Angeles from New York City in 12 minutes – 500 hundred miles off Singapore, with full fleet support? Launch to impact, we are talking 2 minutes plus – tops. Conventional or nuclear this is a very powerful deterrent, or détente lever.
I leave you to your PR and political thought, and the video from DARPAtv – the sound you don’t hear is what enemies will hear just before the explosion – Falcon is basically a guided glider you see.