Project Pluto

In the context of the recent scary public statements by Mr Putin it is worth noting that a hypersonic cruise missile with nuclear ramjet propulsion was being developed already in the 1960s. By the United States.

The work on this weapon was known as Project Pluto which started in 1957 and was cancelled in 1964. To give you an idea how insane the whole concept was let us run through some technical details.  Nuclear reactors produce a huge amount of heat which, in normal operation, is taken away by cooling water and used to spin the turbines. The cooling system and safety measures like radiation shielding are heavy, complex and expensive. Let us now imagine a nuclear reactor stripped off all the ancillaries and placed inside the combustion chamber of a jet engine. The cool air entering through the intake is heated by the reactor. As it expands rapidly it exits through the jet nozzle at the back, propelling the missile forward. Since nuclear fuel is very energy-dense the missile can fly for months without landing.

As it does, it first drops the payload of nuclear bombs over the enemy landmass. Then it keeps flying at treetop level and hypersonic speeds creating a shock wave strong enough to kill humans on the ground, emitting radiation from unshielded reactor and spewing nuclear material with the exhaust gasses. After months of wreaking death and destruction this way it crashes into a pre-selected high value target destroying it with kinetic energy and radioactive waste.

Pause to think about an unshielded nuclear reactor darting around for months at bullet speed and killing everything in its path. If you know of a more devious human invention (other than genetically engineered strains of pathogens) please let me know – I don’t.



One Response to “Project Pluto”

  1. Voytek Klepatski Says:

    And it went undetected on Obama/Hilary’s watch. Their reset policy with Russia. Like North Korea. Now all left to Trump to deal with.

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