American lawmakers have repeatedly warned that the U.S. risks being left behind by itChina and Russia.
More good news from the US military!
The U.S. Air Force said on Monday it had conducted a successful test of a hypersonic weapon, which flew at five times the speed of sound.
The test was conducted on Saturday off the coast of Southern California when a B-52 bomber released an Air-launched Rapid Response Weapon (ARRW), the Air Force said in a statement.
“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,” it said.
The system is the first successful test of an air-launched missile system.
“Our highly-skilled team made history on this first air-launched hypersonic weapon,” said Lt. Col. Michael Jungquist, the director of the 419th Flight Test Squadron and the Global Power Bomber Combined Test Force, who executed the test.
“We’re doing everything we can to get this game-changing weapon to the warfighter as soon as possible,” Jungquist added.
American lawmakers have repeatedly warned that the US risks being left behind by China and Russia. Failed tests did not help the US military’s progress, and perhaps the successful launch will lead to more success in other hypersonic projects in the pipeline.
The US military has a number of hypersonic weapons programs across the Navy, Army and Air Force but most are still in development phase and highly top secret.
However the known programs are all more conventional hypersonic weapons that strike from high altitude, rather than orbital bombardment systems that strike from space which the Chinese were revealed to have developed this week.
The only US hypersonic weapon know to have been successfully tested is the Air Force’s GM-183 ARRW which is designed to be launched from a large bomber aircraft.
It then accelerates to hypersonic speeds using of up to 15,345mph using a supersonic combustion ramjet to strike targets within 1,000 miles. Donald Trump referred to a ‘super duper missile’ while in office and this is believed to be the AGM-183 ARRW.
The Navy’s submarine launched Long Range Hypersonic Weapon is expected to be operational by 2023 and will have a range of 1,725 miles.
Even though the Russians have claimed to use hypersonic missiles in Ukraine, they do not appear to have resulted in a battlefield advantage.
China and Russia have developed hypersonic weapons, and U.S. defense officials have said that Russia has used hypersonics weapons an estimated 10 to 12 times in its invasion of Ukraine.
But Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Mark Milley told Congress last week that the way the Russians are using hypersonics hasn’t given them much of a battlefield advantage so far.
“Other than the speed of the weapon in terms of its effect on a given target, we are not seeing really significant or game-changing effects to date with the delivery of the small number of hypersonics that the Russians have used,” Milley said.
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