For decades, the state of the art in missile technology has been Ballistic Missiles. A Ballistic missile follows a ballistic trajectory to deliver its warhead, or warheads, onto a predetermined target. The missile is put into orbit by a rocket, and the remainder of its flight is unpowered. The missile simply falls like a rock on a highly predictable approach. Due to the nature of its flight, Ballistic Missiles can easily be countered by Anti-Ballistic Missiles. The ABM can intercept and destroy the Ballistic Missile at any point during its flight. Many countries have mastered the technology of Ballistic Missiles, and Anti-Ballistic Missile Defense. It is what drove the Cold War.
In recent years, however, we have been introduced to a new missile technology. Hypersonic Missiles have changed the art of war as we know it. Hypersonic missiles travel at least five times the speed of sound, and they can fly much lower to the ground than conventional Ballistic Missiles. These hypersonic missiles are more of a threat because they are highly maneuverable. Due to their speed and their maneuverability, they are difficult, if not impossible, to detect by traditional anti-ballistic missile defense systems. And, due to their immense kinetic energy, they are even more destructive to the target that they are directed toward. Hypersonic missiles are a game changer.
Russia, China, North Korea, and the US have all tested hypersonic missiles. When they become operational and get incorporated into military arsenals, it will be truly significant for both aggressors and target countries.
This is truly the way of the future in Rocket and Missile technology. Scientists and engineers need to be familiar with this new type of missile.
If you would like to learn more about Rocket and Missile Fundamentals including the Hypersonic Missile technology, consider enrolling in ATI’s upcoming course Rocket and Missile Fundamentals. The instructor has recently added a unit discussing Hypersonic Missiles.
As always, a complete listing of ATI’s courses can be found here.