Hypersonic weapons pack a massive punch and the 'Rods from God' could hit like a nuke, but with no fallout.
Imagine a bunch of telephone-pole sized tungsten rods, dropped out of orbit, reaching a speed of up to ten times the speed of sound. 'Project Thor' is a protocol that could use these projectiles and drop the needle-shaped rods from the edge of space at about Mach 10 onto an underground threat without using the horror of a nuclear weapon.
The idea is that of shooting a projectile at a target that actually speeds up during flight.
While the "Outer Space Treaty" signed in 1967 prohibits nuclear, biological, or chemical weapons being placed in orbit, these 'Rods from God' are simple tungsten weapons that just happen to hit with all the force of a ballistic missile.
This idea, whether it exists in orbit now or not, would use the bundle concept to drop as many of the power-pole sized missiles as possible to penetrate deeply protected bunkers. It would be possible for it to pierce hundreds of feet into the ground to destroy its target.
It is said that the force it would create "would be on par with the magnitude of a ground-penetrating nuclear weapon - but with no fallout."
Since there are more than one despicable despots trying to keep their 'rule' afloat around the world, it's not surprising that even as far back as 2006 writer John Arquilla discussed this same military concept when he wrote for SF Gate,
"While the Soviet Union no longer exists, consider the 1 million North Korean troops massed on the edge of an ironically named demilitarized zone. Imagine what would happen if the outnumbered 30,000 U.S. troops and their South Korean allies were denied satellite information at the outset of an invasion."
All it takes is one overstuffed, mouthy little dictator to start something.
That's where Project Thor and its Rods from God could come into play and stop something before it ever starts. Here's hoping that cooler heads will prevail.