Defense

Air Force says it successfully tested hypersonic weapon

The Air Force announced on Monday that it successfully tested a hypersonic weapon over the weekend.

The service said in a statement that a B-52H Stratofortress bomber released an AGM-183A Air-launched Rapid Response Weapon (ARRW) off the Southern California coast on Saturday.

After the weapon separated from the aircraft, its booster ignited and burned for duration, the statement said. The weapon achieved hypersonic speeds five times the speed of sound.

The test comes as the U.S. races to develop hypersonic weapons, which can travel faster than the speed of sound, to counter adversaries like Russia and China.

The ARRW, developed by Lockheed Martin, was designed to destroy flexible time-sensitive targets at risk in contest environments, the Air Force said. It added that the weapon would “expand precision-strike capabilities by enabling rapid response strikes against heavily defended land targets.”

The Air Force has previously tried to test this weapon, but in April, the missile did not launch. The service decided to delay the program by up to a year after the failed test in April and subsequent failed tests, CNN reported in April.  

Saturday’s test was conducted in California by the 419th Flight Test Squadron and the Global Power Bomber Combined Test, both of which are based at Edwards Air Force Base, California.

Michael Jungquist, 419th FLTS commander and GPB CTF director, said in a statement that the team made sure the test was executed “flawlessly.”

“Our highly-skilled team made history on this first air-launched hypersonic weapon,” Jungquist said. “We’re doing everything we can to get this game-changing weapon to the warfighter as soon as possible.

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