Air Force's mach 5 missile fails for third time

X-51A Waverider

If the three-strikes-rule were in effect, the Air Force would be out of luck for testing its X-51A Waverider cruise missile as the supersonic rocket failed again to activate its scramjet propulsion system. The project has cost $300 million so far and there may not be enough budget (or will power) left for a fourth test.

As part of the US Air Force’s “prompt global strike” initiative, the missile was supposed to give the military the ability to strike targets anywhere in the world in a matter of minutes. As a cruise missile, it would not be perceived as a nuclear threat and accidentally prompt a nuclear reply, but after three failures they’re likely to consider other options, according to Wired:

The Pentagon’s researchers at Darpa have also been experimenting with hypersonic glider. The glider — and a potential weapons platform — is launched into near-space before zooming back to Earth at 20 times the speed of sound. Darpa wants to press ahead with another glider test after its last try-out crashed into the Pacific.

Written by Sal McCloskey

+Sal McCloskey is a tech blogger in Los Angeles who (sadly) falls into the stereotype associated with nerds. Yes, he's a Star Trek fan and writes about it on Uberly. His glasses are thick and his allergies are thicker. Despite all that, he's (somehow) married to a beautiful woman and has 4 kids. Find him on Twitter or Facebook,
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