UAV Packs Worldwide Punch
What some might consider the ultimate military Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) is on the Pentagon's drawing board. The Hypersonic Cruise Vehicle (HCV) will be able to strike anywhere in the world within two hours of a launch from within the continental United States. It will carry up to 12,000 pounds of munitions and be able to take off from a conventional runway. Such a capability will give the U.S. an enormous advantage in any conflict, anywhere in the world, according to the Pentagon's Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). "The intent is to hold adversary vital interests at risk at all times," the BBC quoted DARPA's Web site as saying. "This capability would free the U.S. military from reliance on forward basing to enable it to react promptly and decisively to destabilizing or threatening actions by hostile countries and terrorist organizations." The Pentagon hopes to have the HCV in service by 2025. Jane's Defense Weekly broke the story and claims the U.S. is working on a shorter-term fast-strike weapon called the Small Launch Vehicle. Jane's said it's basically a bomb dropped from space that freefalls or glides to its target.