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Inside the worldwide race to develop hypersonic weapons

WASHINGTON — President Trump stated he plans to talk about with Russian President Vladimir Putin methods to considerably scale back the variety of nuclear weapons the U.S. and Russia have stockpiled. However each nations are racing to develop a completely new type of weapon.

When Putin confirmed off what he stated was a hypersonic cruise missile, he gave the world a short glimpse right into a secret arms race. It pits the U.S. in opposition to Russia and China in a contest to construct weapons that may fly 10,000 miles per hour.

“It is fairly a bonus if anyone may ever try this,” stated John Wilcox, vp at Northrop Grumman.

The corporate constructed the primary hypersonic plane again in 2004. It solely flew for about 10 seconds. However Northrop Grumman is now conducting exams as a part of the Pentagon’s prime secret efforts to develop hypersonic weapons that may fly longer and farther.

Wilcox took CBS Information right into a take a look at chamber on situation we’d not reveal its location. It’s a big air gun that fires bursts of gasoline at unbelievable speeds and strain to simulate the circumstances of hypersonic flight.

“The gases come down the air gun and hit proper again right here on the plate,” Wilcox defined.

The gases burst by way of the metal plate. That, plus temperatures of two,000 levels are what a hypersonic plane must survive.

“If we now have a take a look at article that we’re making an attempt to emulate within the circumstances of the hypersonic flight, it’s going to be in right here,” Wilcox stated.

Wilcox estimates a working hypersonic weapon continues to be 5 to 10 years away. 

The Pentagon has declared hypersonics its primary technical precedence, however the official accountable for this system not too long ago acknowledged that the U.S. is enjoying catch as much as Russia and China.

© 2018 CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved.

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