Here are the top five aerial weapons that one day could change the face of modern warfare. Relying on the most advanced technology in the world, these hyper-advanced projectiles may outmaneuver, outrun, and outmatch America’s foes around the globe, whenever the need arises.
1) The Mach-5 Cruise Missile
If a cruise-missile at supersonic speed is a full-throttle Ford Mustang, then a missile that hits Mach 5 is a Formula 1 racer going all out.
The problem is, that hypersonic Mach 5 pace — clocking in at five times the speed of sound– has yet to be reached by munitions. Until now.
The X-51 missile can hit hypersonic speed, and moves so fast that it doesn’t even need an explosive warhead. It’s kinetic energy will shred through targets.
Boeing has already tested the X-51, which last year flew at hypersonic speed for a few minutes after launching from a B-52 bomber. Though it fizzled early in the last test in June, there will be another trial in the months ahead.
2) “Super Decoy Drone”
The only defensive weapon that makes the list, this super decoy drone, called the Miniature Air Launched Decoy (MALD), is a distracting, annoying, weapons-jamming dynamo.
It’s sort of like a flying JarJar Binks that soaks up all the enemies’ attention and firepower.
David Axe of Wired gives the specs and mission of the MALD as a:
“300-pound, jet-powered ‘bots cruise for up to 500 miles, more or less inviting enemy defenders to unload their guns and missiles at them. Meanwhile, Air Force and Navy planes carrying anti-radiation missiles sneak around to destroy the enemy air defenses as they’re busily killing the MALDs.”
The MALD’s mission is a space-a version of the adage “take one for the team.”
3) “Hyper Speed Bunker Buster”
Bad guys in Iran and North Korea are digging bunkers to hide their sensitive military sites like a horde of evil gophers. This rocket-fueled bunker buster punches through the earth to obliterate anything underneath it.
The main draw here is the trade-off of size for speed. Instead of using huge, 2,000 lbs bombs that rely on weight and ordnance for the job, the hyper speed bunker busters use kinetic velocity. It’s all about sheer speed.
As Bill Murray says in Caddyshack, “Au revoir, gopher.”
4) “Triple-Target Terminator Missile”
It cannot be stopped. It does not feel pity. And it will chase down anything.
That pretty much describes the Triple-Target Terminator, in development by Darpa and missile-maker Raytheon. Meant as a “high-speed, long-range missile that can engage air, cruise-missile, and air-defense targets,” this projectile is the like the all-purpose utility player on a baseball team.
This one is a little far off from seeing action. It’s not easy to make a one size fits all ground, sea, air missile, but it would be cost effective, and already has a scary name.
5) “Pocket-Sized” Precision Nukes
The JDAM– or Joint Direct Attack Munition– has been roaring down from the sky to obliterate America’s enemies for years with symphony-like precision.
Now, defense scientists are looking to make the nuclear bombs as close to JDAM accurate as they can.
The B61, which has been America’s main nuclear gravity bomb for decades, is getting a GPS upgrade. A more accurate nuke means explosive power can be scaled back for the same effect.
Just the thought of getting a mini-nuke through a window might make the axis of evil countries play a little nicer with the world community.
For a full list with more game-changing aerial weapons of the future, check out this list compiled by the team over at Wired.