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    US Super Duper Missile

    Photo: Department of Defense
    The Pentagon has unveiled the “Super Duper Missile” to which President Donald Trump has repeatedly referred it as indeed a real weapon. The missile is actually a development of the Army/Navy Joint Common Hypersonic Glide Body (C-HGB). Contrary to the president’s assertion, it's not the fastest missile in existence, with many others as fast or faster. President Donald Trump's mysterious “Super Duper Missile,” which he has repeatedly referenced over the past few months, is actually real, a Pentagon official confirms. The “Super Duper Missile” is the Joint Common Hypersonic Glide Body (C-HGB), a hypersonic weapon system that first flew back in March.

    The weapon flies at Mach 17, making it plenty fast—but not as fast as the Russian Avangard hypersonic weapon system, which reaches Mach 27.
    Last month, during an address to cadets at West Point, here's what Trump said about the mysterious missile:
    We are building new ships, bombers, jet fighters, and helicopters by the hundreds; new tanks, military satellites, rockets, and missiles; even a hypersonic missile that goes 17 times faster than the fastest missile currently available in the world and can hit a target 1,000 miles away within 14 inches from center point.
    Trump’s various statements have been heavy on the confusion and light on useful details, making it difficult to discern what weapon system, if any, he was actually talking about. The confusion was further compounded by the sheer number of hypersonic projects under development by the U.S. Army, Navy, and Air Force. However, a Pentagon source told CNN that Trump is actually referring to the C-HGB. Here’s a video from the system's first test in March at Pacific Test Range at Barking Sands, Hawaii.

    How the U.S. Army plans to use the C-HGB hypersonic weapon system / U.S. ARMY 
    The C-HGB is under joint development by the Army and Navy. The missile successfully flew at Mach 17, or 13,043 miles an hour, and will eventually be a land- and sea-launched hypersonic weapon with a conventional warhead. The Army will likely launch the missile from truck-mounted trailers, while the Navy will deploy the system on existing warships.

    Hypersonic weapons are, by definition, weapons that travel at Mach 5 or faster. They're meant to use blistering speed to overwhelm enemy air defenses. For example, an enemy air defense network with a 200-mile radar range would have less than a minute to detect, identify, track, and engage a hypersonic weapon moving at Mach 17. After taking an early lead in the 2000s, the U.S. squandered the progress it had made and allowed Russia and China time to build their own hypersonic weapon systems.

    Trump has also made other erroneous claims about the Super Duper Missile. In remarks commemorating the establishment of the Space Force, the President asserted the Super Duper Missile was “17 times faster than what they have right now.” The reality? The C-HGB is only 17 times faster than Mach 1. All rocket-powered missiles around the world, from the short-range AIM-9X Sidewinder air-to-air missile to the Russian Iskander-M short range ballistic missile, fly faster than Mach 1.

    Trump has claimed the C-HGB is the fastest in the world “by a factor of three, which is also untrue: Russia’s Avangard hypersonic weapon system reportedly flies between Mach 20 and Mach 27, making it considerably faster than C-HGB. In fact, almost all long-range ballistic missiles, including the American Minuteman III and the Russian Topol-M, fly faster than C-HGB in the terminal phase of flight. Finally, Trump says Russia received the plans for hypersonic weapons from the Obama Administration, an assertion that is also false.

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