. 24/7 Space News .
Race for 'hypersonic' weapons heats up as France joins fray
By Daphn� BENOIT
Paris (AFP) Jan 28, 2019

World powers are vying to develop so-called "hypersonic" weapons that travel several times the speed of sound, with France the latest to join a field led so far by Russia and China.

Hypersonics are like missiles that travel at over five times the speed of sound (Mach 5) but are able to manoeuvre in mid-flight, making them much harder to track and intercept than traditional projectiles.

France is the fourth of the five permanent UN Security Council members to join the so-called "stealth by speed" contest, after China, Russia and the United States.

"We have decided to issue a contract for a hypersonic glider" that can travel at over 6,000 kilometres/hour, Defence Minister Florence Parly said last week, promising a test flight by the end of 2021.

"Many countries are acquiring them (hypersonic weapons) and we have the know-how to develop them. We could no longer afford to wait," Parly said, unveiling project V-MaX (Experimental Manoeuvering Vehicle).

In March last year, Russian President Vladimir Putin stunned Western military analysts -- and many in Russia -- by unveiling plans for a new arsenal of hypersonic weapons which he said would render missile defence systems obsolete.

Putin insisted the weapons would only ever be used in self-defence, but his presentation featured video montages of missiles crossing the Atlantic, sparking jitters among NATO members.

A few months later US President Donald Trump threatened to walk away from a key arms control treaty with Moscow.

- 'Avanguard' -

France has already carried out studies on propulsion systems for hypersonic flights as part of a 37 billion euro ($42 billion) revamp of its nuclear arsenal.

Under the V-MaX project, being led by ArianeGroup -- a joint venture between Airbus and France's Safran -- the air-to-surface ASN4G missile, which will replace the medium-range ASMP, could possibly be configured to travel at hypersonic speeds.

"These (hypersonic) weapons could constitute an instantaneous threat of a conventional or even nuclear strike," France's inter-ministerial Secretariat for National Defence and Security (SGDSN) wrote in a 2017 report on next-generation technologies.

Hypersonic gliders would be carried to the end of the earth's atmosphere by a launch vehicle and would then "glide" back to a target on the ground.

"The goal is high-speed manoeuvrability. That's how it differs from a ballistic trajectory," the French government's defence procurement and technology agency (DGA) said.

"Once the initial speed is reached, we can play with speed and altitude to move up and down, to the left and to the right, creating a trajectory that is more difficult to intercept.

And, the agency added: "If we are targeted by a defence system, we can operate evasive manoeuvres."

In December, the Kremlin touted the capabilities of its new hypersonic glider, aptly named "Avanguard".

The Kremlin said that in tests the intercontinental projectile reached 27 times the speed of sound -- 33,000 kilometres (20,500 miles) per hour or Mach 27.

"At this speed not a single intercepter missile can shoot it down," Deputy Prime Minister Yury Borisov boasted.

China has also reportedly carried out several successful tests since 2014 of a glider that can reach speeds of between Mach 5 and Mach 10.

- Falling behind -

Harry Harris, former US military commander for the Pacific region, admitted last year: "China's hypersonic weapons development outpaces ours... we're falling behind."

The United States, which is developing several hypersonic programmes, is also studying the feasibility of creating a space-based interceptor system, in which an orbiting craft of some sort would be equipped with missiles that could destroy an incoming warhead while it is in space.

"The US will now adjust its posture to defend against any missile strikes including cruise and hypersonic missiles," President Donald Trump said in January, releasing a review of the US missile defence network.

For France, developing and deploying a device that can withstand hypersonic speeds poses an enormous challenge.

The DGA, the French defence agency, admitted that it had "relatively little experience" in the area.

"The first use will probably not be for several years, and will be limited in terms of payload, flight time and precision," the SGDSN cautioned.

Related Links
Rocket Science News at Space-Travel.Com

Thanks for being there;
We need your help. The SpaceDaily news network continues to grow but revenues have never been harder to maintain.

With the rise of Ad Blockers, and Facebook - our traditional revenue sources via quality network advertising continues to decline. And unlike so many other news sites, we don't have a paywall - with those annoying usernames and passwords.

Our news coverage takes time and effort to publish 365 days a year.

If you find our news sites informative and useful then please consider becoming a regular supporter or for now make a one off contribution.
SpaceDaily Monthly Supporter
$5+ Billed Monthly

paypal only
SpaceDaily Contributor
$5 Billed Once

credit card or paypal

Jeff Bezos's Blue Origin rocket makes 10th flight test
Washington (AFP) Jan 23, 2019
With an eye to launching the first tourists to space by year's end, Blue Origin, the rocket company owned by Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, blasted off the 10th test flight of its New Shepard rocket on Wednesday. The rocket, carrying no people on board but eight science experiments for NASA, soared skyward from a launchpad in west Texas at 1508 GMT against a clear blue sky. A few minutes into the flight, the capsule separated as planned from the booster and reached its peak height of 66 miles (106 kilom ... read more

Comment using your Disqus, Facebook, Google or Twitter login.

Share this article via these popular social media networks
del.icio.usdel.icio.us DiggDigg RedditReddit GoogleGoogle

Blue Origin to make 10th flight test of space tourist rocket

Duration of UAE Astronaut's Mission on Board ISS Reduced to 8 Days

NASA Announces Updated Crew Assignment for Boeing Flight Test

China is growing crops on the far side of the moon

Jeff Bezos's Blue Origin rocket makes 10th flight test

Countdown for launch of DRDO satellite starts

Japan launches Epsilon-4 Rocket with 7 satellites

United Launch Alliance Successfully Launches NROL-71 in Support of National Security

Dust storm activity appears to pick up south of Opportunity

ExoMars software passes ESA Mars Yard driving test

Team selected by Canadian Space Agency to study Mars minerals

UK tests self driving robots for Mars

China to deepen lunar exploration: space expert

China launches Zhongxing-2D satellite

China welcomes world's scientists to collaborate in lunar exploration

In space, the US sees a rival in China

mu Space unveils plan to bid for space exploration projects

Airbus wins DARPA contract to develop smallsat bus for Blackjack program

A new era of global aircraft surveillance is on the horizon as Aireon completes system deployment

How much do European citizens know about space?

Ball Aerospace tests electronically-steered antenna with Telesat's LEO Phase 1 satellite

Groundbreaking new reusable adhesive works underwater

Use a microscope as a shovel? UConn researchers dig it

Mimicking nature for programmable and adaptive synthetic materials

Where Is Earth's Submoon?

Planetary collision that formed the Moon made life possible on Earth

Astronomers find star material could be building block of life

Double star system flips planet-forming disk into pole position

Juno's Latest Flyby of Jupiter Captures Two Massive Storms

Outer Solar System Orbits Not Likely Caused by "Planet Nine"

Scientist Anticipated "Snowman" Asteroid Appearance

New Ultima Thule Discoveries from NASA's New Horizons

The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2024 - Space Media Network. All websites are published in Australia and are solely subject to Australian law and governed by Fair Use principals for news reporting and research purposes. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA news reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. All articles labeled "by Staff Writers" include reports supplied to Space Media Network by industry news wires, PR agencies, corporate press officers and the like. Such articles are individually curated and edited by Space Media Network staff on the basis of the report's information value to our industry and professional readership. Advertising does not imply endorsement, agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) Statement Our advertisers use various cookies and the like to deliver the best ad banner available at one time. All network advertising suppliers have GDPR policies (Legitimate Interest) that conform with EU regulations for data collection. By using our websites you consent to cookie based advertising. If you do not agree with this then you must stop using the websites from May 25, 2018. Privacy Statement. Additional information can be found here at About Us.