NEWS AND OPINION:
A round of applause, please, for the work of DARPA. Unfamiliar with DARPA? It stands for Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency — which has been around for six decades, tracing its heritage back to 1957, and the Soviet Union’s surprise launch of Sputnik 1. The beachball-sized craft orbited the Earth for three weeks and more or less launched the space age — and the space race.
The Defense Department agency is charged with making “pivotal investments in breakthrough technologies for national security,” according to its own description. That includes “transforming revolutionary concepts and even seeming impossibilities into practical capabilities.”
All that said, DARPA reveals it recently completed a free-flight test of the Lockheed Martin version of the Hypersonic Air-breathing Weapon Concept (HAWC).
“The vehicle, after release from a carrier aircraft, was boosted to its Aerojet Rocketdyne scramjet engine ignition envelope. From there, it quickly accelerated to and maintained cruise faster than Mach 5 (five times the speed of sound) for an extended period of time. The vehicle reached altitudes greater than 65,000 feet and flew for more than 300 nautical miles,” DARPA said in a statement.
Well, let’s do the math. The speed of sound is 761 miles per hour. Multiple that times 5, and voila … the HAWC was traveling at 3,805 miles an hour — at least according to Inside the Beltway’s elementary school-level math.
This marks the second successful flight in DARPA’s HAWC program.
“This Lockheed Martin HAWC flight test successfully demonstrated a second design that will allow our warfighters to competitively select the right capabilities to dominate the battlefield,” said Andrew “Tippy” Knoedler, HAWC program manager in DARPA’s Tactical Technology Office, in a written statement.
“These achievements increase the level of technical maturity for transitioning HAWC to a service program of record,” he said.
Well, that sounds very helpful in these times. Since “air-breathing vehicles” is a new concept for Inside the Beltway, here’s the DARPA explainer:
“Air-breathing vehicles utilize air captured from the atmosphere to achieve sustained propulsion. The speed and maneuverability of such hypersonic cruise missiles allow both evasion of defenses and quick strikes. Their kinetic energy can effectively destroy targets even without high explosives,” the statement read.
“We are still analyzing flight test data, but are confident that we will provide the U.S. Air Force and Navy with excellent options to diversify the technology available for their future missions,” Mr. Knoedler said.
MEDIA STILL IN THE DOG HOUSE
A massive global poll reveals that the news media worldwide still suffers from a reputation problem.
The annual Edelman Trust Barometer — an expansive survey of 36,000 respondents in 28 countries — found that 46% of them said the media was a “divisive force” in society. Overall, trust in the news media has declined in 15 of the nations surveyed.
But wait, there’s more.
Concerns over fake news or false information being used as a weapon are now at an all-time high of 76%: the poll analysis reported, also noting 57% of the respondents felt that the news media has failed to remedy an underlying “trust problem” with the public.
Only 10% said that they “automatically assume” that what they read or encounter in named media sources is true. That figure falls to 8% with anonymous news sources and 6% with news found on social media.
The massive survey was conducted in 19 languages by Edelman — a global communications firm — from Nov. 1-21 and released Thursday. This is the 22nd year the organization has taken the survey, which spans multiple issues and concerns, and also includes a “Trust Barometer.”
Curious? Find it at Edelman.com/trust.
FOR THE LEXICON
“Attention [President] Biden voters! If you voted for Biden in 2020, you’ve been exposed to failures and false promises. As a result, you may be suffering from a case of Biden Remorse,” notes a new campaign spot from the Republican State Leadership Committee.
“Common side effects include: skyrocketing prices for your gas and groceries, lack of input in your child’s education, rampant crime in your once safe neighborhood, and embarrassment towards your nation,” advises the spot, which debuted Thursday on Fox News.
TRUMP IN NORTH CAROLINA
On Saturday, former President Donald Trump is hosting yet another “Save America” rally, on Saturday in Selma, North Carolina — about 30 miles southeast of Raleigh.
Here’s who on the guest list: Republican Reps. Ted Budd, Dan Bishop, Greg Murphy and Madison Cawthorn of North Carolina, plus North Carolina Lt. Gov. Mark Robinson and Bo Hines, a candidate in the state’s 13th U.S. Congressional District.
“I am 100% pro-life. I am 100% pro-gun. I am 100% pro-free speech. I am 100% pro-Trump,” Mr. Hines notes in a public statement at his campaign site.
As usual, the host-in-chief is expecting a large turnout; fans can start lining up at 8 a.m. — 11 hours before Mr. Trump even takes the stage.
WEEKEND REAL ESTATE
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POLL DU JOUR
• 42% of registered U.S. voters “strongly disapprove” of President Biden’s decision to end Title 42, which let border-security officials immediately expel would-be asylum seekers and illegal immigrants as an anti-pandemic measure; 78% of Republicans, 37% of independents and 11% of Democrats agree.
• 13% overall “somewhat disapprove” of the decision; 10% of Republicans, 15% of independents and 16% of Democrats agree.
• 18% overall “somewhat approve” of the decision; 6% of Republicans, 19% of independents and 29% of Democrats agree.
• 16% overall “strongly approve” of the decision; 1% of Republicans, 12% of independents and 31% of Democrats agree.
• 11% overall “don’t know or have no opinion”; 4% of Republicans, 17% of independents and 13% of Democrats agree.
SOURCE: A Politico/Morning Consult poll of 2,003 registered U.S. voters conducted April 1-4.
• Follow Jennifer Harper on Twitter @HarperBulletin.