The U.S. Air Force Fired a Hypersonic ‘Smart Bullet’ From a Tank and Downed a Cruise Missile

The U.S. government can now shoot down a missile with a bullet but can’t figure out a second round of stimulus.

By Shish KaBob Seger

It seems the hyper-sonic arms race just turned a corner. The U.S. Air Force tested a hyper velocity projectile (HVP) by firing it from an Army M109 howitzer tank in an attempt to shoot down a cruise missile. The projectile is capable of traveling Mach 7.3 — roughly 5,600 mph. The test was performed over a missile range in New Mexico. 

“Tanks shooting down cruise missiles is awesome,” Dr. Will Roper told journalists. Roper is the assistant secretary of the Air Force for acquisition, technology, and logistics.

“You’re not supposed to be able to shoot down a cruise missile with a tank. But, yes, you can, if the bullet is smart enough, and the bullet we use for that system is exceptionally smart,” Roper elaborated. 

The use of ground based battle tanks as tools to neutralize cruise missiles is an innovative repurposing of their firepower. The use of such battlefield assets has the potential to revolutionize the use of hypersonic weapons in a defensive nature. The economics of the HVP over existing missile defenses is dramatic. Each HVP costs taxpayers roughly around $85,000 versus the $1.5 million Tomahawk missile.

The tricky part is creating a hypersonic projectile that can actually neutralize an incoming hypersonic missile. There are currently no defenses against hypersonic missiles. The speed and maneuverability of hypersonic technology has yet to be bested by any nations who have successfully tested a hypersonic missile — China, Russia, The U.S., and India. I would be money Israel has em’ too. 

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