The United States Air Force has begun a series of tests on a new missile which flies through the air under its own power like a conventional aircraft.
The United States Air Force has begun a series of tests on a new missile which flies through the air under its own power like a conventional aircraft. The tests began at the Army's white Sands Missile Range in the state of New Mexico.
The missile is launched from large aircraft, such as a B-52 bomber, and flies at subsonic speeds.
The missile is 14 feet long (approx. 5 metres) and resembles a small plane. While being carried aboard the bomber the wings of the missile retract into the body. After launching the wings snap open.
The engine in the missile weighs only 130 pounds (approx. 60 kilograms) and is capable of a 600 pound thrust.
The entire weight of the new missile is 1900 pounds (approx. 856 kilograms).
The missile is expected to have an ultimate range of 1,500 miles (2,400 kilometres).
Such missiles are designed to fly like normal aircraft at very low altitudes and strike targets with pinpoint accuracy.
SYNOPSIS: The new missile is launched from a B-52 bomber. While being transported in the bomber the wings of the missile fold in.
But having been launched the wings open to a span of more than nine feet. The speed of the missile is subsonic but it is able to fly at extremely low altitudes. This provides a chance for the missile to escape enemy radar detection. The missile is powered by an engine weighing only 130 pounds. Despite the light weight of the engine, it is capable of providing up to a 600 pound thrust. The entire weight of the missile is 1900 pounds. The launching equipment used by the bomber is similar to that already used by the Air Force for the Short Range Attack Missile -- SRAM.
Such missiles have a range of up to 1,500 miles ... and a pinpoint accuracy on enemy targets.