(Image courtesy Warner Bros.)

(Image courtesy Warner Bros.)

There’s fast, there’s really fast, and then there’s hypersonic. Supermissiles should always fall into the last category, and Raytheon just scored a nice contract to develop just that:

Raytheon is getting $20 million from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, or DARPA, the Pentagon branch best known for having sponsored the invention of the Internet. This time, the agency wants a technology that weapons designers have dreamed of since the 1930s — a hypersonic missile that travels so fast there’s virtually no defense against it.

Details of the project are closely guarded secrets; DARPA and Raytheon declined to provide specifics. But similar efforts have been underway for decades. The German scientist Eugen Sanger worked on hypersonic cruise missiles during the 1930s, but the effort was abandoned as impractical. Today, though, Russia, China and India are all making big investments in hypersonic hardware. The United States is working on several similar projects, including the Army’s land-based Advanced Hypersonic Weapon and the X-51 WaveRider being developed by the Air Force.

Would it be redundant if I said, “Faster, please?”

My dream of having a Friendly Skynet to automatically rain down destruction on bad guys anywhere in the world, in 30 minutes or less, keeps moving closer to reality.