When it comes to advancements in weapons for the United States, ideas that are present in science fiction movies or novels have, over time, evolved from fantasy to reality. Stealth aircrafts, lasers, hypersonic missiles and railguns are slowly moving from weapons only being used in science fiction towards becoming the future of military tech for the U.S. Since other countries are trying to advance their military technology, future weapons for the United States will need to focus on new areas that involve technology.
Writer Jurica Dujmovic recently posted an article that looks at new areas of technology that the United States are trying out in developing future weapons. Some of these new projects, such as the B-21 Raider Stealth Bomber, are focusing in areas of technology that have not been attempted before. Here are some examples of what may become the future weapons for the United States military.
The B-21 Raider Stealth Bomber
Developed by Northrop Grumman Corporation, the B-21 Raider is considered a bad boy and already nicknamed the 21st century’s first bomber. Expectations are that it will enter service around 2025. Known as the B-2’s younger while more advanced brother, it should replace not only the B-2 but also the B-52 and the B-1. The duties that it is expected to perform are to intercept enemy airplanes, transport conventional long-range and thermonuclear weapons as well as gather intelligence.
Rumors say it can be used with or without a pilot and once it is launched within the U.S., it can take out any target around the world; this can be accomplished without refueling. Although the head of the United States Air Force Global Strike Command predicts there could be as many as two hundred bombers constructed for service, the estimates of what the project will cost has yet to be revealed.
Another area being worked on has to do with the DARPA Experimental Spaceplane program is working on an experimental hypersonic, which is faster-than-sound, spacecraft that has the possibility of launching around ten days straight since it would not require the same amount of servicing as present models; this was formally known as the XS-1. The spaceplane is known as the Phantom Express and is powered by an Aerojet Rocketdyne AR-22 engine, which uses liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen propellants.
When the spaceplane reaches orbit, it can deploy three thousand pounds of payload; this would most likely be a smaller satellite. After completing its’ mission, the craft will land horizontally on a runway the same way an airplane does; however, it is different from the conventional model as the new carrier could take off again within a matter of hours. The initial tests for the Phantom Express have been scheduled for 2020.
There have been stories regarding the U.S. Navy developing a railgun, which uses powerful magnets and electromagnetic fields to fire projectiles at hypersonic speeds (four-thousand-and-eight-hundred miles per hour, one-hundred-mile range). Though this concept may sound fascinating to some, the problem is that it did not meet expectations when it was finished. Fortunately, there are plans for something else that faster, better and deadlier being designed.
Picture hypersonic weapons, nuclear or conventional warheads, that can travel at higher speeds than Mach eight or possibly reach Mach twenty; this would be twenty times the speed of sound. These projectiles would be different from ballistic missiles because they would be more difficult to track and shoot down due to their erratic flight paths and low altitudes; add to the difficulty of it traveling at blistering speeds which leaves almost no time to react.
This tech would be crucial to develop considering Russia and China are already working on their own hypersonic projectiles. Thankfully, the U.S. has, for some time, been testing its’ own weapon system and is on the right path to catch up.
While there are other examples of projects the United States ae working on, the push is on for these projects to be finished successfully and as quick as possible. Whatever the outcomes may be, the future of military weapons for the United States will involve areas of technology that once seemed to be science fiction but will soon become a reality.