Pentagon to Launch Fastest-Ever Plane


the-falcon-htv-21By the time you finish reading this sentence, the Falcon HTV-2, the fastest plane ever built, could have flown 18 miles. It would get from London to Sydney in less than an hour, while withstanding temperatures of almost 2,000C, hotter than the melting point of steel.

Today, the US Defence Advance Research Projects Agency will launch the Falcon Hypersonic Technology Vehicle 2 on the back of a rocket from the Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. If all goes to plan, engineers will launch the Falcon HTV-2 to the edge of space, before detaching the plane and guiding it on a hypersonic flight that will reach speeds of 13,000mph (about 20 times the speed of sound) on its return to Earth.

The Falcon started life in 2003, part of a US military research project to build a plane that could reach (and potentially deliver bombs to) any part of the world in less than an hour.

The plane has been tested in computer models and wind tunnels, but they can only simulate speeds up to Mach 15 (11,400mph). A real test is the only way to determine if the plane will remain flying at high speeds.

Today’s flight will also test the carbon composite materials designed to withstand the extreme temperatures the plane will experience on its skin and also the navigation systems that will control its trajectory as it moves at almost four miles per second.

The design and flight pattern of the plane has been tweaked since an aborted test flight in April last year. Nine minutes into that mission, which succeeded in flying for 139 seconds at Mach 22 (16,700mph), the onboard computer detected an anomaly and ordered the plane to ditch into the ocean for safety reasons.

{The Guardian/ Newscenter}


  1. Great idea but what is the expense and who will lose their medicare and social security in the future due to this sort of program. What do we need a Mach 15 air plane for? So that we can get more accomplished in a 5 hour period? Simply a cool cool cool thing and the kiddies and techies will love it, but I can assure you that this planet likely has no emergencies that require a man to go from Italy to Australia in just one hour unless the pope has an existential crisis I think.

  2. Actually if they can bomb in an hour that might be pretty neat huh? Nuclear bombs deployed just in time that the enemy might not launch his own against you provided you know where those other bombs are all located. I sense false security.

  3. actually such fast response is an enormous deterrant.How many times did we “miss” khadaffi, osama, etc. by moments? this provides “real time” response. rather than just “show of force”. think “surgical strikes”

  4. But it still gonna take forever till they determine whether or not to employ its use in response to an attack HaShem Yishmoraini that it’s expense is hardly a worthwhile investment. If we hit back within an hour of being attacked!! WEW! But we’re American, ain’t never gonna happen! What a pity!

  5. HTV-2 launched today. Unfortunately telemetry was lost after 7 minutes of flight. The vehicle will initiate automatic termination if telemetry is lost.

    Oh, well, back to the drawing board…

  6. Oh gosh! It’s gone!! How much could the deficit have been reduced if we had disband this project? Oh well! Better spend the $$$ on this than in Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan and all the other ‘stans’ our American tax $ go to! On the other hand, at least the mosque that we built in Pakistan is still standing, or is it! Does anybody know if the Quran let’s them do their thing in a mosque built by the despicable infidel Americans?