The U.S. Army's latest test of an advanced hypersonic weapon had to be terminated shortly after Monday's liftoff from the Kodiak Launch Complex in Alaska due to a "flight anomaly," the Defense Department said. No injuries were reported, and program officials are looking into the cause of the anomaly, according to a Pentagon statement. Kodiak's KMXT-FM reported that the rocket carrying the prototype weapon nosed down seconds after launch, forcing operators to press the self-destruct button.
The test was part of the Defense Department's Conventional Prompt Global Strike program, which is aimed at developing low-cost conventional weapons that can strike anywhere in the world in less than an hour. The flight profile calls for a weapon-laden glider to be launched aboard a rocket, and then sent out at speeds of more than Mach 5, or 3,500 mph. In 2011, the U.S. Army successfully tested a hypersonic weapon prototype, but other tests have not gone as well.
— Alan Boyle
First published August 25 2014, 9:58 AM