US Military Announces Production of Hypersonic RocketThe military is always using their innovative technologies to create some astounding (and usually highly useful) gadgets to help them in battle. They recently presented a floating military base in the waters off Bahrain, and body armor for women soldiers is finally in the works.

But the latest military phenomenon doesn’t have to do with floating bases or armor—it has to do with rocket ships.

The US Military recently announced that they plan on flying a rocket plane at 20 times the speed of sound no later than 2016.

The hypersonic vehicle was planned by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) to be developed and tested. Dubbed the X plane, it is proposed to travel at Mach 20 (13,000 mph). This speed would allow the military to access any part of the world within one hour.

The production.

In order to be achieved, a great deal of work will need to be done. First, the rocket ship will need thermal protection, which is required for hypersonic flight. An object traveling at Mach 20 would experience temperatures hot enough to melt stainless steel.

The rocket would also require specialized aerodynamics. This is needed so that the aircraft can adjust to changing conditions, such as weather, while still being safe.

The propulsion of the rocket will not be the same used on rockets for space. Instead, DARPA is working on a specialized propulsion method as well as giving the rocket its own internal rocket.

DARPA has recently tested two hypersonic vehicles in the past. The second test did reach Mach 20, but only stayed in the air for nine minutes. These missions were aborted because the aircrafts were either forced into water due to being uncontrollable or because the skin of the aircraft was peeling off due to high temperatures.

Along with its rapid speed, the rocket will also be trackable so that the military can access the rocket’s location at all times. This will also enable the military to see exactly where the rocket lands with specific coordinates.

The purpose.

As mentioned above, if this is achieved, the US Military will be able to reach any part of the world within one hour. The rocket will not be used to transfer people or goods. Instead, it will be used more like a weapon, such as bombs or missiles. This will allow the US to attack any part of the world from anywhere at a rapid pace.

Being able to track the rocket will allow the military to know exactly where the rocket landed, which will let them know if the target area was reached or if the target was missed. Knowing the location is much more beneficial than launching a bomb or a missile without knowing where it hit.

Though these test launches have come closer and closer to reaching the goal, they have not yet been successful due to the need for specialized technologies and craftsmanship. Since each test launch puts DARPA closer to achieving the goal, they are confident they will have it all fleshed out by 2016. If it is achieved, this could do wonders for the future of the US Military and their strategy.

Jacob Smith enjoys writing about anything from the military to technology.  He recently wrote articles about rockets and military parachuting.