Science: Deadly Flying Cigars

The rival cruise missiles vie for a lucrative contract

Several thousand feet above a bleak patch of western Utah, a 20-ft. long, cigar-shaped drone dropped from a B-52 bomber, spread its stubby wings and began whipping around an oval course 100 miles long and 30 miles wide at speeds up to 500 m.p.h. So last Tuesday began the great flyoff to pick the first U.S. air-launched cruise missile (ALCM), a weapon capable of carrying a nuclear warhead some 1,350 nautical miles and delivering it on target with near pinpoint accuracy. The weapon is designed...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now

Subscribe
Subscribe

Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on TIME.com

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!