The U.S. Air Force conducted another successful hypersonic test off the Southern California coast, July 12. The Air-Launched Rapid Response Weapon Booster Test Flight-3 was the 12th flight for the program and third release demonstration. The AGM-183A weapons system reached hypersonic speeds and primary and secondary objectives were met. ARRW is designed to provide the ability to destroy high-value, time-sensitive targets. It will also expand precision-strike weapon systems’ capabilities by enabling rapid response strikes against heavily defended land targets.
“This was another important milestone for the Air Force’s first air-launched hypersonic weapon. The test successfully demonstrated booster performance expanding the operational envelope. We have now completed our booster test series and are ready to move forward to all-up-round testing later this year. Congratulations to the entire ARRW team, your dedication and expertise are what got us here,” said Brig Gen. Heath Collins, Armament Directorate program executive officer.
The test verified system integration with the B-52 launch platform and telemetry while practicing concepts of operations that will be utilized during its first Booster Test Flight later this year. The ARRW program is a rapid prototyping project aimed at delivering a conventional hypersonic weapons capability to the Warfighter in the early 2020s. The weapon system is designed to provide combatant commanders the capability to destroy high-value, time-sensitive targets. ARRW will also expand precision-strike weapon systems’ capabilities by enabling rapid response strikes against heavily defended land targets.
The AGM-183 ARRW is a prototype hypersonic weapon developed by Lockheed Martin, the missile has a reported maximum speed of Mach 20. It has been theorized to be the “Super-Duper Missile” referred to by President of the United States Donald Trump during a May 2020 press availability. The AGM-183A has a maximum speed of 15,345 miles per hour (24,695 km/h). The weapon uses a boost-glide system, in which it is propelled to hypersonic speed by a rocket on which it is mounted before gliding towards a target. The U.S. Air Force was considering using the remaining fleet of B-1B bombers as AGM-183A firing platforms, with each aircraft carrying up to 31 of the weapons mounted internally and on external pylons.