Compared to the GM bailout, now valued at a taxpayer loss approaching $40 billion or the Fannie Mae – Freddie Mac taxpayer bailout estimated somewhere between $142 billion and $1,000 billion (also known as $1 trillion; your results should not vary), spending $1 billion over five years on Prompt Global Strike sounds like a bargain.
A bargain, that is, by current government standards. Still, the Prompt Global Strike (PGS) program as it is now being pursued with hypersonic vehicles, makes as much sense as Chevy reintroducing the Chevette (with or without taxpayer bailout).
That’s because the Prompt Global Strike program, instead of using a prompt, reliable, understood, and established ballistic-based weapon system is pursuing an engineering sandbox approach: hypersonics.
Can hypersonics be made to work? Yes: all it takes is time and money.
Will PGS ever be used for effect? No. A PGS execution scenario requires exquisite, timely, and pristine intelligence (targeting, collateral damage, weapon approach, etc.) and command and control (flyover issues; PGS would likely require Presidential-level release authority, or if not that, SecDef). We don’t have that sort of intelligence nor command and control, nor will we ever. Other hypersonic PGS issues like weapons system reliability and generation times will conveniently be ignored in the discussion.
But regardless, congratulations to the defense industry rocket scientists who pulled off a successful (if somewhat de-scoped) hypersonic test the other day. But I still can’t help but wonder if the nation will get a better national security return by instead developing DoD’s hot tub time machine, which could be powered by an updated oscillation overthruster or wind/solar-based flux capacitor.
Either that or use a handful of east coast/west coast based conventional ICBMs to provide the nation’s PGS capability. Such a system could be treaty verifiable as being non-nuclear, in addition to flying non-nuclear profiles, as well as proven performance records and cost baselines.
Nah, that might upset the Iranians, the Chinese, or the Russian reset. Or worse, the Congressional crew who owns the hypersonic PCG work.
Instead, consider and take to heart the hypersonic PGS motto: failure actually is an option.