The U.S. Military Is Testing Hypersonic Missiles on B-52 Bombers

Michael Peck
By Зимин Василий - Own work, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=2640512

Michael Peck

Security, Americas

But the devil is in the details.

The U.S. Military Is Testing Hypersonic Missiles on B-52 Bombers

America’s future hypersonic arsenal is moving closer to reality.

The U.S. Air Force successfully conducted the first flight test of its new hypersonic missile. An AGM-183A Air Launched Rapid Response Weapon, or ARRW, was launched from a B-52 bomber at Edwards Air Force Base, California.

Though billed as a flight test, the missile did not actually take flight. “A sensor-only version of the ARRW prototype was carried externally by a B-52 during the test to gather environmental and aircraft handling data,” according to the Air Force announcement. “The test gathered data on drag and vibration impacts on the weapon itself and on the external carriage equipment of the aircraft. The prototype did not have explosives and it was not released from the B-52 during the flight test. This type of data collection is required for all Air Force weapon systems undergoing development.”

ARRW is one of two Air Force “rapid prototyping” programs aimed at quickly deploying a hypersonic missile, which is defined as an object with a speed of at least Mach 5. The other is the Hypersonic Conventional Strike Weapon, or HCSW. ARRW is set to reach early operational capability by fiscal year 2022.

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