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US military loses contact with hypersonic aircraft

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August 12, 2011 9:54:11 AM



US military scientists lost contact with an unmanned hypersonic experimental aircraft on its second test flight, officials said.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-14497641

The first flight wasn't a success either, so I guess considering the current economic conditions, they may not get a 3rd chance any time soon.
August 12, 2011 11:55:44 AM

I have read this is just a feint, and the aircraft performed as it should have. Makes sense if you've just built a device that can fly anywhere in the world in an hour wouldn't you want your enemies to think its not working right?
August 12, 2011 3:17:10 PM

But wait, if you can't build it right, wouldn't you want your enemies to think that you tricked them by pretending to fail?

August 12, 2011 3:18:16 PM

Who knows? But I don't think nations with 'satellites' won't know about it coming their way, so it will only terrorize weaker nations, who doesn't stand any chance against the US military even today.
August 12, 2011 3:30:05 PM

Archean said:
Who knows? But I don't think nations with 'satellites' won't know about it coming their way, so it will only terrorize weaker nations, who doesn't stand any chance against the US military even today.


Dont forget its a stealth craft also. I don't believe that Sats are going to track this thing if it didn't want to be tracked. If / When this aircraft get working it will have changed warfare. The ability to move something, anything at mach 20 would remove the whole traveling to the battlefield. You could drop off Seal Team 6 in Kuwait faster than most people commute to work.
August 12, 2011 3:34:14 PM

Here's the thing, moving at Mach 20, a response is...problematic. Even if you know it's doing something, it's not a given that you know what it is doing enough to respond. Which is also very difficult

The SR-71's response to threat? Go faster.

It worked.
August 12, 2011 3:38:16 PM

Mystic is right on this one. I don't think a surface to air weapon exists that would be able to knock this thing out of the sky.
August 12, 2011 3:42:04 PM

I agree on the SAM argument guys, but I think this thing can be track-able, even if its completely stealth, how do you hide the heated air frame, all they need something which can track in infra-red or something like that.

But anyway, I am sure by the time they have it ready, others will start thinking about something similar.
August 12, 2011 4:08:51 PM

What's the operating altitude of this thing?
August 12, 2011 4:30:18 PM

I have no idea, but I read somewhere that it is about 2.5 times the height of Mount Everest (TBH I can be wrong here, so someone please correct me if I am).
August 12, 2011 4:44:58 PM

So is this thing a conventional aircraft? Doesnt it have to be launched from another plane? Or was that just for sim purposes?
August 12, 2011 4:52:34 PM

They said it takes off on a Minotaur rocket, so no other plane is needed. I don't think it is just for sim purpose, obviously they want to develop a very fast and reliable air attack option.
August 12, 2011 4:52:36 PM

I would say it's an umanned very unconventional aircraft. Mach 20 with an 80,000+ ft. ceiling? Yowza!
August 13, 2011 12:15:51 PM

80.000 feet sounds about right but the exact figure is of course a secret. If I'm not mistaken there exist SAMs that can reach this altitude, so the craft can be destroyed through a head-on collision with a SAM, since its heat signature can indeed be tracked.

A scenario is conceivable where another country lures the US into a trap (launching the craft to attack a fake target) to make a serious dent in the US federal budget. Oops, probably shouldn't have said that...

Well, at least the scramjet research is interesting for use in future aircraft.
August 13, 2011 12:32:41 PM

If I remember correctly Mig 31 could also fly at very high altitudes (I don't know exact figure) so if someone can make such a plane slamming a SAM headon into this thing can be explored.
August 13, 2011 3:04:25 PM

Naaa ... it crapped out after takeoff.

It needs a decent tail fin ... just look at the thing.

What idiot designed it?

Its too unstable ... rolls to easily.

It probably rolled too much ... they overcompensated ... it ripped apart in the air.

Not enough testing at lower speeds ... the computer probably couldn't control it.

August 13, 2011 3:15:03 PM

Gulli said:
80.000 feet sounds about right but the exact figure is of course a secret. If I'm not mistaken there exist SAMs that can reach this altitude, so the craft can be destroyed through a head-on collision with a SAM, since its heat signature can indeed be tracked.

A scenario is conceivable where another country lures the US into a trap (launching the craft to attack a fake target) to make a serious dent in the US federal budget. Oops, probably shouldn't have said that...

Well, at least the scramjet research is interesting for use in future aircraft.



The fastest SAMs travel mach 6-7. If this thing really does mach 20, then it can simply walk away from anything launched at it.
August 13, 2011 3:26:04 PM

Well technically no ... if the attack vector is good then it can be taken out.

It probably would not have great maneouverability at Mach 20 either.

Put a missile on a front on attack vector ... there are a few that would be useful even the older ones.

http://www.ausairpower.net/APA-Rus-BVR-AAM.html
August 13, 2011 3:29:35 PM

Can't the plane change course to thwart the AOA? With it's speed? We don't know how maneuverable it is though, so all speculation.
August 13, 2011 3:31:11 PM

Yes ... your correct.

This discussion is just like the Bulldozer thread ...
August 13, 2011 3:41:18 PM

A subliminal ad saleman told me he had unseen pictures of the newest stealth aircraft
August 13, 2011 4:06:45 PM

Oldmangamer_73 said:
The fastest SAMs travel mach 6-7. If this thing really does mach 20, then it can simply walk away from anything launched at it.


Hence my proposal for a head-on collision.
August 13, 2011 4:56:24 PM

Forget the aircraft. We just need skynet.
August 13, 2011 4:58:22 PM

You can use space shuttle maneuverability as a reference for this one, it may not be exactly similar but you get the idea.
August 13, 2011 5:52:29 PM

Gulli said:
Hence my proposal for a head-on collision.



If this tactic didn't work for the SR-71 at mach 4, it's not going to work with this thing traveling at mach 20.

August 13, 2011 7:07:22 PM

Oldmangamer_73 said:
If this tactic didn't work for the SR-71 at mach 4, it's not going to work with this thing traveling at mach 20.


The SR-71 is harder to detect and more maneuverable. Also, SAM technology and tracking methods have improved since the cold war. The thing is whoever wants to stop it needs prior warning, so a small country won't see it coming, unless neighbouring allies warn them.
August 14, 2011 12:18:25 AM

Oldmangamer_73 said:
Mystic is right on this one. I don't think a surface to air weapon exists that would be able to knock this thing out of the sky.


Don't worry in a few years, The Russian military will come up with something in genius as usual, then sell it to the middle east who will then use it against us. It is how it has been for many years now sadly.

Archean said:
US military scientists lost contact with an unmanned hypersonic experimental aircraft on its second test flight, officials said.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-14497641

The first flight wasn't a success either, so I guess considering the current economic conditions, they may not get a 3rd chance any time soon.


I'd be willing to spend a trillion dollars on this, then spend a million dollars to provide entitlements.
August 14, 2011 1:03:43 AM

Gulli said:
The SR-71 is harder to detect and more maneuverable. Also, SAM technology and tracking methods have improved since the cold war. The thing is whoever wants to stop it needs prior warning, so a small country won't see it coming, unless neighbouring allies warn them.



Fly them often do you?
August 14, 2011 2:40:25 AM

Gulli said:
The SR-71 is harder to detect and more maneuverable. Also, SAM technology and tracking methods have improved since the cold war. The thing is whoever wants to stop it needs prior warning, so a small country won't see it coming, unless neighbouring allies warn them.


Maybe the SR-71 is harder to detect, but even if this new aircraft is easier to detect...there is virtually nothing you can do to stop it. Intercepting an aircraft that travels 13,000mph or around 4miles per second is impossible...

Not to mention that the SR-71 is highly outdated where there are far superior aircraft like the FA-22 Raptor and something new thats coming out soon, I forget its name right now.
August 14, 2011 6:35:02 AM

The USAF has temporarily grounded all 150 Raptors (i.e. F-22s) and also there are some issues with 20 JSF planes they have.

August 14, 2011 7:57:30 AM

blackhawk1928 said:
Don't worry in a few years, The Russian military will come up with something in genius as usual, then sell it to the middle east who will then use it against us. It is how it has been for many years now sadly.



I'd be willing to spend a trillion dollars on this, then spend a million dollars to provide entitlements.


So whenever you lose one you've lost a trillion dollars... that way you only have to lose 14 to destroy the entire economy...
August 14, 2011 8:10:00 AM

Add two more to this by 2013, even if Obama O'Hoover is defeated in 2012.
August 14, 2011 2:00:07 PM

There is no operational land based weapon known to man that can touch these things aside from a very powerful land based laser. They have a operational ceiling much higher that 80,000 ft. They are designed to skip off the Earth's upper atmosphere or what's known as the Karman Line which is 62 miles (100km) above the Earth. 80,000 ft. is just 15 miles. Maybe a Kinetic weapon but certainly nothing rocket propelled.
August 14, 2011 2:07:20 PM

tinmann said:
There is no operational land based weapon known to man that can touch these things aside from a very powerful land based laser. They have a operational ceiling much higher that 80,000 ft. They are designed to skip off the Earth's upper atmosphere or what's known as the Karman Line which is 62 miles (100km) above the Earth. 80,000 ft. is just 15 miles. Maybe a Kinetic weapon but certainly nothing rocket propelled.


100km is too high for scramjets I would think (too few oxygen molecules), but I'm not an expert.
August 14, 2011 2:53:46 PM

If it can indeed hit the Karman Line then you are right, nothing can touch it short of some sort of orbital weapon platform.
August 15, 2011 8:34:01 PM

I would think it would have to be a High altitude aircraft. Reason, 20 mach puts alot of air pressure on the fuselage.

BTW, the higher you go, the less O2 molecules exist but more Nitrogen molecules exist.
August 15, 2011 8:39:52 PM

I have an idea of how to stop this aircraft for relatively nothing.

If(IF is the main word here) you can track it you know where its going to be in 20 mins. Deploy a few rockets that scatter some debris in its path (There must be something that will sit in the upper atmosphere for a while). Could you imagine a vehicle doing mach 20 running into anything even as large as a grain of sand? I also don't imagine that it will be able to maneuver too well moving that fast.
August 15, 2011 9:09:17 PM

24,936/(761(20))=1.6 hours to encircle the earth.

Anything that fast must be testing for time travel.
August 16, 2011 12:14:21 PM

My theory is is that it will indeed reach the Karman Line and then start to glide down until there is enough oxygen for its scramjet to start working, then it will continue to its target and drop a single guided missile, at this point its altitude will be much less than 100km, more like 25-30km and it can be hit by the most advanced SAMs (the missile can be intercepted as well).
August 16, 2011 2:29:37 PM

I think they ripped off the basic design from Farscape.

Maybe they are looking for wormholes?

"Frell! You've destroyed my frelling ship you frelling piece of dren" was heard by the flight controller ... just at the end. Listen carefully farbots.





August 26, 2011 5:59:22 PM

Would love to see it at an air show, going mach 20.

:D 
!