What are Hypersonic Weapons?
"Hypersonics" refers to speeds greater than 5 times the speed of sound. Hypersonic weapons are powered by scramjet (supersonic ramjet) engines which are basically tubes comprising inlet, combustion chamber and thrust nozzle sections. They can only operate when moving very fast so that incoming air is rammed into the combustion chamber, burnt with fuel and then thrust out of the exhaust.
What is the Australian Hypersonics Initiative (AHI)?
The Australian Hypersonics Initiative (AHI) refers to hypersonics research conducted by the Universities of: Adelaide, Queensland, Southern Queensland and NSW. The AHI achieved world-wide recognition after the 2002 successful launch of the world's first experimental scramjet flight which reached speeds of 7.6 Mach, proving that the scramjet engine was viable.
The Defence Science Technology Organisation (DSTO) signed a $74 million HIFiRE (Hypersonic International Flight Research Experimentation) agreement with the United States Air Force that will comprise up to 10 hypersonic flight experiments planned for the Woomera Testing Facility in South Australia over the next five years.
Faster Flights To Europe
According to ANU's Vice Chancellor Chubb, the AHI is a good thing because it will help bring about Australia to Europe fights of only two hours.
However, the real purpose of this research is to enable the US to project military force anywhere in the world at lightning speed. The ultimate aim is a hypersonic cruise vehicle (HCV) that can take off from a conventional runway and strike targets up to 16,700 kms (10,350 miles) away.
If the US can achieve this, they will hugely reduce their reliance on other countries hosting their military bases, saving many billions of dollars whilst having an enhanced ability to dominate the world and space itself from earth.
The US Pacific Command wants hypersonic weapons because they claim they must be able to apply firepower and move personnel and materiel ever more rapidly over daunting distances.
This technology will lead to a profoundly dangerous destabilisation because no nation or group will know when they could be hit by "a bolt out of the blue". This will increase the likelihood of missiles being launched on the flimsiest of suspicions. Inevitably, "launch on warning" will lead to accidents and global war will be the likely result.
Although Australian scientists claim they are working at a fundamental level and have nothing to do with the FALCON HCV, they cannot be blind to the stated intentions of the US and Australian military.
What We Must Do
- This research collaboration with the U.S. must be stopped.
- Australia should initiate revival of discussion on space weaponisation in the UN Conference on Disarmament which has been stalled since 1995.
- Australia should aggressively push for a global Space Preservation Treaty which would outlaw weapons from space.