One of the most common nightmares of the left-o-spher is the “Weaponization of Space”. It dogged Ronald Reagan and the Star Wars program, and it played a part in the Canadian publics refusal to the more recent Ballistic Missile Defense Program.
The Common Aero Vehicle is a hypersonic glide vehicle, designed to carry a payload 3,000 nautical miles (5,500 km) downrange, with re-entry speeds of approximately 4,000 feet per second (1200 m/s) and an accuracy (circular probable error) of 3 meters.
… Officially, at least, DOD is no longer thinking about space-basing CAV. A pair of contractors, however, have written an interesting little paper about basing CAV in space and some potential objections.
A better tactic is to develop a useful CAV capability without having to engage in the orbital deployment morass.
In other words… develop a “dual-use” technology (wait, I thought “dual-use was a term reserved for “bad guys”?) and wait for just the right political climate to “orbitalize” it.
MissileThreat.com has a great introduction on how Ballistic missiles work..
If I’m not mistaken, a 5500KM range would mean the US could hit nearly any target on Earth from North America, Hawaii or a submarine.