Imagine having the ability to strike anywhere in the world within one hour. The X-51 is an amazing hypersonic cruise missile that travels 600 miles in just ten minutes (approximately 3600 MPH or Mach 5).
Compared with the Tomahawk Missile which travels at a mere 550 MPH, the X51 gives the US the ability to strike enemies quickly before they can evade. As U.S. Strategic Command’s deputy commander Lt. Gen. C. Robert Kehler puts it, the goal of the X51 is “to strike virtually anywhere on the face of the Earth within 60 minutes.”
The power of this weapon once it reaches its unfortunate target is amazing.
Traveling as fast as 13,000 mph, the warheads are filled with scored tungsten rods with twice the strength of steel. Just above the target, the warheads detonate, showering the area with thousands of rods-each one up to 12 times as destructive as a .50-caliber bullet. Anything within 3000 sq. ft. of this whirling, metallic storm is obliterated.
The X-51 Will be the most advanced cruise / long distance missile in the world when it is completed, although there have been protests that the X-51 could trigger a nuclear war. A test run of this weapon in 2008 could appear to be heading toward another nuclear power during portions of its flight pattern which could be provoking. More about this concept can be read at Popular Mechanics