Experimental US hypersonic weapon destroyed seconds after launch

This Monday, Aug. 25, 2014 photo provided by Scott Wight shows the horizon from Cape Greville in Chiniak, Alaska, after a rocket carrying an experimental Army strike weapon exploded after taking off from a launch pad in Alaska. AP Photo

A hypersonic weapon being developed by the U.S. military was destroyed four seconds after its launch from a test range in Alaska early on Aug. 25 after controllers detected a problem with the system, the Pentagon said.
The weapon is part of a program to create a missile that will destroy targets anywhere on Earth within an hour of getting data and permission to launch.

This US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency
(DARPA) artists rendering shows the Falcon Hypersonic
Technology Vehicle 2 (HTV-2). AFP Photo

The mission was aborted to ensure public safety, and no one was injured in the incident, which occurred shortly after 4 a.m. EDT (0800 GMT) at the Kodiak Launch Complex in Alaska, said Maureen Schumann, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Defense Department.
"We had to terminate," Schumann said. "The weapon exploded during takeoff and fell back down in the range complex," she added.
The incident caused an undetermined amount of damage to the launch facility, Schumann said.
It was a setback for the U.S. program, which some analysts see as countering the growing development of ballistic missiles by Iran and North Korea but others say is part of an  arms race with China, which tested a hypersonic system in January.
Riki Ellison, founder of the nonprofit Missile Defense Advocacy Alliance, said he did not think Monday's failure would lead to the program's termination. "This is such an important mission and there is promise in this technology," he said.
He said officials aborted the mission after detecting a fault in the computers.
Anthony Cordesman, a defense analyst at the Center for Strategic and International Studies...

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