A kinetic kinetic orbital strike is the hypothetical act of attacking a planetary surface with an inert kinetic projectile from orbit orbital bombardment, where the destructive power comes from the kinetic energy of the projectile impacting at very high speeds. The concept originated during the Cold War.
source/image: Escape Velocity
And that is exactly what the US government came up with in 2003, with an airforce project called the Hypervelocity Rod Bundle!The idea was simple. A space station would have a few long rods made of incredibly dense material, such as tungsten, which they would drop onto enemy targets as the station flew over – with a few adjustments during flight. Watch the video from Escape Velocity for more info:
This 6-meter, or 20-foot-long rod, would drop at a speed of Mach 10 through the atmosphere, going from launch to impact in only 12-15 minutes. Upon impact, it would transfer all its orbital kinetic energy into the explosion, with a yield similar to a small tactical nuclear bomb, or 11.5 tons of tnt – without the radiation!
This is fantastically economical when compared to the weight of the rod – around 8.2 metric tonsThe shape of the kinetic projectile was chsen to be an elongated rod to increase its penetrative abilities – to be able to hit mountain nuclear bunkers with ease and be a true bunker buster. With such a fast closing velocity and a tiny radar cross section – not even any emissions, it would be nearly impossible to detect and defend against. The whole insane project was given the nickname “rods from god” and would render nearly all other forms of warfare obsolete.