In the current game of modern warfare, the perception of a weapon is almost more important than its actual destructive capability. That's why a newly designed Trident II missile that carries a non-nuclear payload could have a rough time getting funding from congress: in flight, the ballistic missile looks just like a fast nuke. The payload is pretty exciting, since at the peak of its climb outside the atmosphere, the missile pops out a payload of four warheads that can hit independent targets and travel up to 13,000 mph. Just above the target, the warheads detonate, showering a 3000 sq. ft area with scored tungsten rods at high enough speeds to decimate the target. Major points for the surgical strike, but we're not so hot for that whole "could instigate nuclear war" thing. Further off, but a bit more promising is the X-51 hypersonic cruise missile, which is designed to ride the shock waves created at its Mach 5 (3600 mph) target speed. Best of all, the missile is designed to destroy targets with its own kinetic energy, meaning even more precise targeting. The goal of the missile is "to strike virtually anywhere on the face of the Earth within 60 minutes." Perfect for acting on fleeting intelligence against teensy targets. The technologies being developed for the X-51 are also being considered for space vehicles and ultra-speedy planes.