The U.S. Air Force (USAF) revealed that a hypersonic weapon was successfully tested over the weekend. The Air Force said a B-52H Stratofortress successfully released an AGM-183A Air-launched Rapid Response Weapon, or ARRW, off the Southern California coast, May 14.
Following separation from the aircraft, the ARRW’s booster ignited and burned for expected duration, achieving hypersonic speeds five times greater than the speed of sound.
“This was a major accomplishment by the ARRW team, for the weapons enterprise, and our Air Force,” said Brigadier General Heath Collins, Air Force Program Executive Officer for Weapons.
“The team's tenacity, expertise, and commitment were key in overcoming the past year's challenges to get us to the recent success. We are ready to build on what we’ve learned and continue moving hypersonics forward,” he added.
The 419th Flight Test Squadron and the Global Power Bomber Combined Test Force, or GPB CTF, both at Edwards Air Force Base, California, executed the test.
“The test team made sure we executed this test flawlessly. Our highly-skilled team made history on this first air-launched hypersonic weapon. We’re doing everything we can to get this game-changing weapon to the warfighter as soon as possible,” said Lt. Colonel Michael Jungquist, 419th FLTS Commander and GPB CTF Director.
ARRW is designed to enable the U.S. to hold fixed, high-value, time-sensitive targets at risk in contested environments from stand-off distances. It will also expand precision-strike capabilities by enabling rapid response strikes against heavily defended land targets.
The Boeing B-52H Stratofortress is a long-range, heavy bomber that can perform a variety of missions. The bomber is capable of flying at high subsonic speeds at altitudes of up to 50,000 feet (15,166.6 meters). It can carry nuclear or precision guided conventional ordnance with worldwide precision navigation capability.
The AGM-183 ARRW is a hypersonic weapon planned for use by the United States Air Force. Developed by Lockheed Martin, the boost glide weapon is propelled to a maximum speed of more than Mach 20 by a rocket motor before gliding towards its target.
Source: U.S. Air Force; Air Force Photo by Matt Williams