We have addressed the subject of the new Russian hypersonic missiles in the
two previous articles [1]. We wrote:

“The probability of destroying an airplane carrier with these two types
of hyper sonic missile, piercing the AA defense is 88%. This means that, if
100 hypersonic missiles are launched, 88 will pierce the AA defences and
destroy their targets.

Applying the math to the specific case of the United States: if 11 Russian
hypersonic missiles are launched against the 11 existing US airplane
carriers, only 1.3 missiles would fail to reach their targets.”

My conclusions from this were as follows:
• if the US attacked South Russia (the coast of the Black Sea), Russian
hypersonic missiles could destroy a US naval group at Gibraltar.
• if the US attacks the North and West of Russia (the Baltic Sea and the
Arctic Ocean), the Russian hypersonic missiles could destroy a US naval
group in East Greenland.
Of course, these are purely theoretical calculations that could be excluded
by the specific conditions in which war was actually conducted.

Following the publication of these two articles, CNBC, the US TV Channel,
published a declaration made by an anonymous person who claimed to have
seen an US Intelligence Report [2]. This anonymous person declared that the
Russians have concluded that the carbon fibre material used to construct
the fuselage of their hypersonic missiles is junk, and would not therefore
provide the protection needed at high temperatures. The report that cites
this person recommends that Russia should select a new material for
hypersonic missiles over the next 12 months.

I am not challenging the authenticity of the CNBC report. My worry is that
the report probably does not refer to hypersonic missiles but to the
Russian navy. The carbon fibre material provides good resistance to
mechanical shocks and is invisible to radars. This is why it is used in
modern war ships. Having said that, it cannot resist a thermal shock such
as the one to be used in the Avangard system.

It is important to know that when they return to the atmosphere at a speed
close to 7.8 km/s (28 000 km/h), a space of 1 meter separates the inclined
shock wave preceding the cosmic vehicle and the stationary shock wave that
accompanies it. The time needed for a molecule of air to speed through this
space is about 18 micro seconds. In that period of time, the molecule of
air in the shock wave undergoes a chemical process which frees up heat
energy. This returns the air molecule to its state of initial state of

Dr Yuri A. Dunaev of Leningrad State University and H. Julian Allen, A.J.
Eggers, from the Department of Aerodynamic Theory of the Laboratory of Ames
(NASA), have discovered the most efficient way to dissipate energy. It is
to lower the temperature that the cosmic vehicle would have to tolerate
when it re-enters the atmosphere, increasing its resistance to its

The thermochemical decomposition of organic materials at high temperatures
and in the absence of oxygen is known as pyrolysis. The thermic ablative
shield is made of components which, in the process of pyrolysis, are
carbonized, melted and sublimated, i.e., transformed straight from the
solid state directly to the gaseous state. The role of the thermal ablative
shield is to block the flow of heat created by the shock wave from entering
the vehicle’s structure. This type of shield of re-entering the
atmosphere is used in Soyuz space capsules.

This system is often used for vehicles re-entering the atmosphere.

It is a monolithic ablator that can be moulded into different forms. It is
a fragile ceramic compound called (Silicone Impregnated Reusable Ceramic
Ablator). This compound is applied directly to the hull of the Bourane
space ships, the X-37B space ship , and also the Avangard.

As for the hypersonic missiles Kh-47M2 Kinzhal and 3M22 Zircon, these never
leave the earth’s atmosphere but move at a maximum height of 40-50 km, at
speeds of 8 Mach (9 800 km/h) and 10 Mach (12 250 km/h). Neither of the
two fuselages is composed of carbon fibre, but from a titanium alloy (33 %)
which resists kinetic heating. It is the same material used by the North
America plane X-15 with rocket motors which in October 1967, established a
record speed of 7 272 km/h, (Mach 6,72), flying at a height of 31 120 m.

Anoosha Boralessa