Pentagon’s Newest Weapon Project Is Basically A Weaponized Meteor Strike

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Back in the 1950s, Jerry Pournelle imagined what would be the equivalent of the extinction of dinosaurs for the military and today the kinetic energy projectile weapon of the Pentagon is more along the lines of a weaponized meteor strike.

The United States Army veteran was a Boeing operations researcher in 1949 after the Manhattan Project and the first lightning nuclear test of the Soviet Union. He imagined a weapon system that did not have chemical explosive or munitions, but instead huge rods that had been forged from heavy metal that would be dropped from heights that were sub-orbital. The New York Times called them tungsten bolts and said that they would be able to impact the strongholds of the enemies and obliterate fortified targets, without any mess from nuclear fallout.

Project Thor Aka Rods From Gods

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The weapon imagined by Pournelle was given the name of Project Thor, while others named it the Rods From Gods. However, when it comes to reality the weapons researchers call it kinetic energy projectile, a very fast and super dense projectile that is able to operate without complex systems or volatile chemicals and it can destroy everything that falls into its path.

The idea of kinetic weapons being able to fall down on enemies with a velocity that is deadly is not a concept that is novel. Airmen deployed Lazy Dog bombs after World War II, which were inert and which traveled at terminal velocity to the battlefields in Vietnam and Korea.

KEPs Have Been Used By Military For Decades

Gravity has not always be needed, as for many decades the military has used kinetic energy penetrators that were ultra-dense, with the name of KEPs, which were shells in an outer shell specially designed to be fired at high velocity instead of being dropped out of the sky.

It does not matter if they are fired out of a cannon or dropped from the sky as they have the same idea behind them; hit the enemy with something that is dense, moving fast and very hard. The kinetic energy projectile may arrive as a staple in modern warfare far sooner than anyone thinks.

Kinetic Energy Projectile Was Tested In 2013

The U.S Air Force 846th Test Squadron along with civilian researchers in 2013 at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, managed to test fire a kinetic energy projectile which was a shell rich in tungsten that traveled at around 3,500 feet per second, which is three times the speed of sound. The Pentagon have more recently tested out electromagnetic rain guns of the Navy with hypervelocity projectiles and the Navy is hoping that a completed cannon is going to be able to launch shells six times the speed of sound at 4,500mph.

Matt Weingart, a weapons program development manager at Lawrence Livermore said that explosives are dazzling when it comes to being destructive; however, there is elegance to the kinetic energy projectile.

He went on to say that the classic way of hurting a target has always been to pack plenty of chemical explosives into a container. The violence happens due to the chemical explosive that is inside the bomb and which sends off a blast wave, which is then followed by the fragment of the case of the bomb. The biggest difference with kinetic energy projectiles is the warhead arrives at the given target, and it is moving extremely fast. The energy propels the fragments and there is no need for chemical explosives to accelerate them. In short, the bigger the mass, the more violence it will cause.

Military researchers have been continuing to look into the applications on the battlefield that are able to take full advantage of high terminal speeds so that they can deliver more energy to the target than the chemical explosives they carried would be able to deliver on their own, said Army Major General William Hix.

Hix said that it should be considered as a big shotgun shell and there would not be much that would be able to survive it. He went on to say that anyone inside the main battle tank might be able to survive, but it would render the vehicle non-operational and everything not inside the tank would be dead.

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There is more to the KEP than just being elegant along with being cost-effective. The hyper-sonic shell was designed to be able to defeat any armor of the enemy and totally obliterate structures along with equipment, whether it is fired from the ground or deployed by aerial means. Hix has the vision of being able to rain down violence over a large area without there being risk to hardware and military personnel.

Kinetic Energy Projectile Could Counter Russia Tactical Nuclear Stockpile

There is another main purpose for the kinetic energy projectiles that just being able to rain down violence. Planners at the Pentagon may think of it as being a counter to the tactical nuclear stockpile of Russia. Hix said that warheads might be seen on battlefields of the future along with weapons that are more conventional thanks to miniaturization efforts that are ongoing.

The applications of it are theoretical for the time being and more than likely the floating Thors hammer circling around the planet is some decades away. However, if kinetic energy projectiles make their way into warfare and they are found to be efficient, they could come across new delivery systems for destruction in the battlefield, with effects that could be devastating and which might beat the MOAB as being the Pentagons most violent non-nuclear weapon.

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