The US Air Force says it has successfully tested a weapon that moves five times faster than sound. transmits Reuters.
Testing took place Saturday at Edwards Air Force Base on the California coast as part of the ARRW program. During testing, a B-52H bomber fired an AGM-183A hypersonic launch vehicle.
“After leaving the aircraft, the ARRW booster fired and burned within the expected time, reaching hypersonic speeds five times the speed of sound,” the Air Force said in a publication.
Missiles are considered hypersonic if they travel at least five times faster than sound (6120 km/h).
The military did not disclose any details, such as the duration or altitude of the flight.
Air Force program manager General Heath Collins described the test as a “huge success”. The US Air Force noted that “testing was carried out flawlessly” and that the Pentagon was “doing everything possible to provide this unique weapon to US military personnel as soon as possible”.
“Our well-trained team has made history,” said Lieutenant Colonel Michael Jungquist, head of the testing teams involved at the launch.
Prior to that, development was followed by failures. The missile failed three flight tests, they have been running since spring 2021. For the first time, in April 2021, the missile failed to launch from a bomber. On the second attempt in July last year, the rocket managed to separate from the bomber, but its engine did not turn on. The third attempt was made in December, the launch failed due to an “unknown issue”. The rocket, as in the first case, could not leave the bomber.
The setbacks caused the Air Force to cut funding for the missile from 2022 and 2023 budget requests. At the same time, the Pentagon believes that hypersonic missiles of this type are easier to develop and operate.
The ARRW (Air Launched Rapid Response Weapon) is designed to destroy both ground targets and ships. According to The Drive, the rocket consists of a solid-fuel booster with a retractable tail and a floating warhead (without motor).
system Works ie – the aircraft drops the launch vehicle, then accelerates to hypersonic speed and rises into the atmosphere. The warhead then detaches from the missile and flies at hypersonic speed along a ballistic trajectory to the programmed point.
The advantage of hypersonic missiles, in addition to their speed, is greater maneuverability. They fly in an unpredictable trajectory. In addition, hypersonic missiles can use a homing system and even hit a target that manages to partially change its position during the flight of the missile.
In May 2020, the creation of the USA’s own hypersonic missile was announced by then-President Donald Trump.
“We have what I call a super deceptive rocket,” Trump said.
According to him, this missile will be 17 times faster than the missile, which is currently considered the fastest in the world, and will be able to hit targets at a distance of 1.6 thousand km. What kind of development is in question, Trump did not specify.
There were versions in the media that the “super deceptive missile” Trump was talking about was the AGM-183A.
In addition to the United States, China and Russia are creating hypersonic weapons. China first tested a hypersonic missile in 2014, while Russia tested it in 2016.
Russia recently demonstrated hypersonic weapons in practice during a military special operation in Ukraine. The Russian Ministry of Defense stated that the army used the Kinzhal complex and that “Ukrainian troops destroyed a large underground missile and aviation ammunition depot in the village of Delyatyn, Ivano-Frankivsk region” with hypersonic aerobalistic missiles. According to Defense Ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov, Kinzhal was fired from a distance of more than a thousand kilometers and covered in less than 10 minutes.