First unit fielding Army hypersonic missile in 2023

The Army is planning two additional tests of its hypersonic missile before fielding it to the first unit at by late 2023.

The Navy is a co-developer of the missile with the Army and the next step will mark the first time the Army and Navy together launch the full missile using the ground support equipment. Lt. Gen. Robert Rasch, head of the service’s Rapid Capabilities and Critical Technologies Office, did not disclose the timing of the tests due to security reasons, originally reported by Army Times sister publication Defense News

The two final test flights follow more than a decade of developing and testing missile capabilities by the service. One of the earliest test flights took place in 2010, only for the project to be paused by the service. The Army reopened work on the missile program five years ago at the start of a major modernization push.

Each of the two services has worked to develop a part of the missile. The Army has developed the common hypersonic glide body, while the Navy developed a two-stage hypersonic missile booster stack. The previous tests have yielded mixed results.

In early 2020, the hypersonic missile test at the Pacific Missile Range Facility in Hawaii was a success, officials said. But the missile’s booster stack failed in another test in late 2021. In June 2022, the stack completed a successful test flight.