The Falcon Hypersonic Technology Vehicle 2, one of the Air Force’s most advanced flying vehicles capable of moving at Mach 20 in order to intercept and attack targets disappeared shortly after its first test flight, and has not reappeared yet. The test was the first involving the FHT Vehicle 2, and it was only in the air for nine minutes before vanishing seemingly out of thin air.
The device was originally intended to perform a test flight spanning several thousand miles and traveling at incredible speeds, but it soon vanished, not responding to radio contact. The device is currently being searched for, but no sign of it has been unearthed leaving more than a few scientists scratching their heads. The incident began with the Falcon being mounted on a Minotaur IV rocket at Vandenberg Air Force base and taking off without problem. As the device separated from the Minotaur IV, it simply vanished. According to Johanna Spangenberg Jones, spokesperson for DARPA, the rocket’s developers, this was the first test flight using for the device outside of a wind tunnel. The object’s disappearance has been guarded closely, and no new information regarding the circumstances around the object’s disappearance has been released. And the purpose of the Falcon makes the story all the more interesting.
Traditional ICBMs can be detected as such by nuclear powers, meaning if an ICBM is detected by another country, it gives that country all the more opportunity to retaliate. The Falcon was designed as a system to deliver a nuclear payload with less chance for detection and therefore could launch without quick retaliation from nuclear powers. Could the Falcon’s disappearance have been a move designed to protect the human race from destroying itself? That is certainly one of the explanations being posited around internet at the moment. One other common explanation would be interception by a competing research firm either from another country or another research firm within our own country. Alternately, a defect in the structure or a sudden unexpected weather fluctuation could have caused the Falcon to lose control and destroyed the object.
The falcon is also of particular interest because of the number of treaties signed recently strictly limiting the number of ICBMs between Russia and the United States. Though there are several ways to deliver a nuclear payload, planes are often unreliable as they can often be easily intercepted. The Falcon, moving at Mach 20 is expected to be the fastest and most powerful means of delivering a nuclear weapon to a target anywhere in the world with little threat of interception. And this makes the object’s disappearance all the more mysterious. Certainly nothing we know of would have been fast enough to shoot it down. And the weather for testing the object, which is supposed to be able to move through any weather, was certainly fair enough to rule out most natural possibilities. The Falcon certainly wasn’t, for example, struck by lightning. But no new information has been gleaned since the telemetry data first disappeared on computers revealing that the device had disappeared.