U.S. Air Force and Lockheed Martin complete ARRW hypersonic boosted test flight

ARRW glide vehicle ©Lockheed Martin

The U.S. Air Force and Lockheed Martin have successfully conducted a hypersonic-boosted flight test of the AGM-183A Air-launched Rapid Response Weapon (ARRW) from the service’s B-52H Stratofortress.

The successful flight demonstrates the weapon’s ability to reach and withstand operational hypersonic speeds, collect crucial data for use in further flight tests and validate safe separation from the aircraft to deliver the glide body and warhead to designated targets from significant standoff distances. Additional booster and all-up-round test flights will continue throughout 2022, before reaching Early Operational Capability (EOC) in 2023. Hypersonic weapons provide a rapid response, time-critical capability to overcome distance in contested environments using high speed, altitude and manoeuvrability. Hypersonic technology has continued to present several complex engineering challenges. Going Mach 5, sometimes even faster, generates extreme levels of heat, driving the need for innovative materials, sensors and electronics to withstand such speeds throughout its journey. In addition to heat, these systems must be able to maintain consistent communication connections, as well as considerable intelligence to perform precise manoeuvrability techniques to overcome a wide range of advanced defense systems and extreme contested environments.

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