US Air Force AGM-183A Air-launched Rapid Response Weapon (ARRW)
US Air Force AGM-183A Air-launched Rapid Response Weapon (ARRW)

US Air Force Conducts First AGM-183A ARRW Operational Prototype Missile Test

A B-52H Stratofortress successfully released the first All-Up-Round AGM-183A Air-launched Rapid Response Weapon (ARRW) off the Southern California coast, December 9. This test was the first launch of a full prototype operational missile. Previous test events focused on proving the booster performance. Following the ARRW’s separation from the aircraft, it reached hypersonic speeds greater than five times the speed of sound, completed its flight path and detonated in the terminal area. Indications show that all objectives were met. The 412th Test Wing at Edwards AFB, California, executed the ARRW test flight.

“The ARRW team successfully designed and tested an air-launched hypersonic missile in five years. I am immensely proud of the tenacity and dedication this team has shown to provide a vital capability to our warfighter,” said Brig. Gen. Jason Bartolomei, Armament Directorate Program executive officer.

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Airmen secure the AGM-183A Air-launched Rapid Response Weapon Instrumented Measurement Vehicle 2 as it is loaded under the wing of a B-52H Stratofortress at Edwards Air Force Base, California, Aug. 6. The ARRW IMV-2 successfully completed a captive carry test off the Southern California coast, Aug. 8.
Airmen secure the AGM-183A Air-launched Rapid Response Weapon Instrumented Measurement Vehicle 2 as it is loaded under the wing of a B-52H Stratofortress at Edwards Air Force Base, California, Aug. 6. The ARRW IMV-2 successfully completed a captive carry test off the Southern California coast, Aug. 8. (Air Force photo by Giancarlo Casem)

The AGM-183 ARRW is a hypersonic air-to-ground missile planned for use by the United States Air Force. Developed by Lockheed Martin, the boost-glide vehicle is propelled to a maximum speed of more than Mach 5 by a rocket motor before gliding towards its target. 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.

On 9 March 2022, Congress halved funding for ARRW and transferred the balance to ARRW’s R&D account to allow for further testing, which puts the procurement contract at risk. On May 14, 2022, the 419th Flight Test Squadron and the Global Power Bomber Combined Test Force at Edwards Air Force Base conducted the first successful test of the ARRW off the coast of Southern California. The weapon demonstrated separation from the B-52H Stratofortress. Its booster ignited and burned for the expected duration, and the weapon was able to achieve speeds greater than Mach 5 (6,100 km/h; 3,800 mph). The U.S. Air Force conducted another successful test of the missile on July 12, 2022.

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