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Pentagon successfully tests hypersonic flying bomb
(AFP)

WASHINGTON  The Pentagon on Thursday held a 
successful test flight of a flying bomb that 
travels faster than the speed of sound and will 
give military planners the ability to strike 
targets anywhere in the world in less than a hour.

Launched by rocket from Hawaii at 1130 GMT, the 
"Advanced Hypersonic Weapon," or AHW, glided 
through the upper atmosphere over the Pacific "at 
hypersonic speed" before hitting its target on 
the Kwajalein atoll in the Marshall Islands, a Pentagon statement said.

Kwajalein is about 2,500 miles (4,000 kilometers) 
southwest of Hawaii. The Pentagon did not say 
what top speeds were reached by the vehicle, 
which unlike a ballistic missile is maneuverable.

Scientists classify hypersonic speeds as those 
that exceed Mach 5 -- or five times the speed of 
sound -- 3,728 miles (6,000 kilometers) an hour.

The test aimed to gather data on "aerodynamics, 
navigation, guidance and control, and thermal 
protection technologies," said Lieutenant Colonel 
Melinda Morgan, a Pentagon spokeswoman.

The US Army's AHW project is part of the "Prompt 
Global Strike" program which seeks to give the US 
military the means to deliver conventional 
weapons anywhere in the world within an hour.

On August 11, the Pentagon test flew another 
hypersonic glider dubbed HTV-2, which is capable 
of flying 27,000 kilometers per hour, but it was a failure.

The AHW's range is less than that of the HTV-2, 
the Congressional Research Service said in a 
report, without providing specifics.

The Pentagon has invested 239.9 million dollars 
in the Global Strike program this year, including 
69 million for the flying bomb tested Thursday, CRS said.

Copyright  2011 AFP. All rights reserved.