A New Era in US-Russia Conflict: The Role of Elon Musk in Hypersonic Aviation
The geopolitical atmosphere has become quite tense between Russia and the United States since the start of the conflict in Ukraine. Both countries have been discussing plans to modernize their armies, and the Pentagon is reportedly willing to establish even more active cooperation with Elon Musk in order to implement one of the most ambitious projects of the decade- a hypersonic electric plane with a vertical takeoff and landing system. This project has been long-rumored but with the current situation, it seems closer to becoming a reality. In this article, we will explore Elon Musk’s involvement in military aviation, his contributions to the field, and the hypersonic plane project he is planning with the Pentagon.
Who is Elon Musk?
Elon Musk is mainly known as the richest man in the world, an innovator in space technology, and one of the most famous supporters of electric-powered cars. However, many people mistakenly assume that his company Tesla is limited to electric vehicles, but that’s not true. Since the mid-2000s, Tesla under his leadership has made a significant contribution to the development of artificial intelligence, robotics, and aeronautical technology.
Musk’s Interest in Aviation
Aviation is also in Musk’s interests, which is, in fact, quite logical. After the launch of SpaceX, Elon will be able to conquer space while his electric cars conquer the earth. After all, it’s just profitable, and the US army is willing to pay a lot of money for the implementation of Musk’s aviation project. For example, it was reported that the US Army was interested in the concept of an electric helicopter from Tesla, which could be an excellent solution for transporting goods and people within the combat zone.
Musk’s Hypersonic Electric Fighter
Perhaps Musk’s most ambitious project in military aviation could be a hypersonic electric fighter with a vertical takeoff and landing system. Rumors of this possible development have been going on for a long time, and Elon gave them life in October 2021. He talked about wanting to create a supersonic electric scooter with a vertical takeoff and landing, but he stressed that he was not in a position to devote time to this development. However, the situation has now changed dramatically.
Musk’s Interest in the Ukrainian Conflict
After the outbreak of the military conflict in Ukraine, the Pentagon became even more interested in Musk’s services. In March, SpaceX quickly responded to Russia’s attempts to jam Starlink signals after the launch of the satellite internet in Ukraine, which was intended to provide communications to the war-affected areas. Musk sent more than 5,000 Starlink terminals to help Ukrainian intelligence better transmit data on the situation of the Russian army. Spacex was able to stop attempts to jam the Starlink satellite internet with electronic welfare ECM systems. This experience of electromagnetic warfare interested the Pentagon, and agency experts said that the US should improve its rapid response to ECM. It is rumored that the US Department of Defense is already preparing a very large cooperation proposal for SpaceX, which will address not only Starlink, but also hypersonic aviation.
Advantages of Hypersonic Electric Fighter
The aircraft developed under this project will not be inferior in its characteristics to the most modern hypersonic fighters. Its speed and maneuverability will be exactly the same, but this development will have several advantages. First, it will consume less fuel as its engine will be electric. Second, such a fighter will be practically silent, which means that the enemy’s air defense will have a much harder time detecting it. And third, these fighters will have a system of vertical takeoff and landing, which will allow it to launch and land on almost any level surface.
Challenges in Creating Hypersonic Aircraft
One of the main problems that makes it difficult to create such an aircraft is the density of batteries for storing electricity, which is not sufficient for continuous flights. Even the most modern batteries are inferior to fuel in the specific energy intensity. The amount of energy they can accumulate is much less compared to fuel. The world’s largest passenger aircraft, the Airbus A380, can fly 15,000 kilometers in one flight and carry up to 700 passengers. However, according to experts, the same aircraft will be able to travel a maximum of 1,000 kilometers with batteries as a power source. In order for the Airbus A380 to fly its maximum on batteries, it will need a set of batteries weighing 30 times more than its current fuel consumption.
In today’s difficult geopolitical situation and possible future clashes that may occur between Russia, the US, and China, the development of such military technologies is important. It can not only be killing machines but also save the lives of ordinary people trapped in a combat zone. Many military experts believe that new Tesla aircraft can be very effective in combat operations. They can transport medical personnel to particularly hard-to-reach areas of combat, deliver critical supplies, and effectively patrol the area. Elon Musk is an amazing man. Few people can combine innovative thinking, high scientific knowledge, entrepreneurial acumen, and true humanism in their work. With these qualities, he is sure to make this hypersonic electric fighter project a success.