The MUTANT is a modified HellFire missile with an articulated warhead that allows it to change direction in mid-air.

The US is developing a missile
Its structure makes it ideal for intercepting the trajectory of enemy missiles directly in the air. Image: AFRL

A week ago in Colorado, the Air and Space Forces Association War Symposium, a multitudinous meeting where some of the most advanced technological advances applied to the military field were presented. He US Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) was one of the speakers and revealed that they were working on a missile project capable of change shape straight into the air: the relentless MUTANTE.

MUTANT means Transformation of missile utilities through hinged nose technology, but they evidently play on the word “mutant” to describe their incredible abilities. Historically, missiles designed for long range have had to cut a lot in the technological part. If the target is far away, the less weight the missile has, the bettertherefore, these models were limited to integrating small trajectory control systems, in addition to the wings and bodywork to give aerodynamics. But technology advanced and that idea buried in the 1950s resurfaced: it is possible to manufacture a missile with high maneuverability and long range.

The MUTANT appears to be a normal missile to the naked eye, but the secret is in the “head”. The front of the missile is a miniature control tower, made up of compact electromagnetic motors, bearings, gears and structures. This combination gives you the ability to change direction in mid-air quicklyand thanks to the new materials used in its production, it can withstand temperatures above 900 degrees to survive at high speeds.

A missile that changes trajectory in seconds by moving its head

Essentially, the only thing that differentiates the MUTANT from a HellFire missile is the adjustable front module. Both the power and the explosive load correspond to the missiles that the US Army has been using in the field. since 1987, and which have received dozens of updates and improvements. But their mission is not exactly the same, since while HellFire was aimed eliminate land and air combat vehicles (helicopters, fighters)the MUTANT has a new objective: other missiles.

Head movement can be programmed remotely or set reactively thanks to the motion sensors. This last function is useful for it to work as “anti-missile missile” being able to correct its trajectory mid-flight to collide with enemy projectiles before they hit. Intercept chinese hypersonic missiles and Russia could be one of its many applications in the future.

for now AFRL does not set a date for mass production of MUTANTEbut believes that the tests could end around 2024. From then on, we will see whether or not the US applies this technology in its military arsenal.