After setbacks, Air Force projects first test of hypersonic missile within 30 days

After setbacks, Air Force projects first test of hypersonic missile within 30 days
U.S. Air Force's hypersonic AGM-183A. Artist's conception. Courtesy Lockheed Martin via The Drive

[Ed. – The hypersonic threshold for flight to the limit of the mesosphere (90 km/56 statute mi. above earth) is generally given as 5 Mach.  Here’s hoping there are no slumbering Chinese-made components waiting for their alarm to go off.]

The U.S. Air Force has again pushed back the date for the first flight of its AGM-183A Air-launched Rapid Response Weapon, or ARRW. The launch was supposed to finally occur this week, after being delayed due to unspecified issues last year, but is now expected to take place sometime within the next month or so. …

No specific reasons were given for the new delay, but unspecified “technical findings” and the continuing impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic were cited as factors.


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The Air Force has also now provided a full description of the BTF-1 test plan …

The complete AGM-183A weapon consists of a nose section holding an unpowered boost-glide vehicle attached to a large rocket booster. The rocket brings the vehicle to the optimal speed and altitude, after which it glides along a relatively level flight trajectory at hypersonic speed, defined as anything above Mach 5, toward its target.


As it stands now, the B-52H is expected to be the primary launch platform for the AGM-183A.

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