US Air Force hypersonic weapon fails during flight test

US Air Force hypersonic weapon fails during flight test
US Air Force hypersonic weapon fails during flight test

The US Air Force announced last Tuesday (6) that the AGM-183A (ARRW), its new hypersonic rapid-response weapon, failed during a flight test. The test was carried out last Sunday (4) and it was expected that the missile would leave a bomber plane, which ended up not happening.

The incident was classified as a “setback in demonstrating its progress in the development of hypersonic weapons”. The prototype was designed to be launched into the air under the wing of a B-52 Stratofortress aircraft carrier, however, the plane returned to Edwards Air Force Base in the state of California, with the missile still connected.


“The test missile was unable to complete its launch sequence and was safely detained on the aircraft, which returned to Edwards Air Force Base,” the service said in a statement.

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“Although the non-launch was disappointing, the recent test provided valuable information for learning and moving forward. That’s why we tested it, ”said Air Force Armaments Directorate program officer, General Heath Collins.

What is ARRW?

The missile ended up not leaving the wing of the plane, as planned. Credit: US Air Force / Disclosure

The missile test was ugly as the inaugural launch of the ARRW system, which reads Arrow, or arrow, in free translation, which is the acronym in English for Rapid Response Weapon Launched by Air.

The system is built in a partnership between the Air Force and aerospace giant Lockhead Martin and is designed to fly between Mach 6.5 and Mach 8, which is between 6.5 and 8 times faster than the speed of sound and is equivalent to 8,050km / h 9,650km / h.

According to the project, when the booster reaches these speeds, it deploys a glider vehicle without an engine, but steerable, which is where the warhead is. The driveability is what differentiates the hypersonic ballistic missiles, which is the case of the AGM-183A from the intercontinental ones, which follow a predefined and predictable trajectory.

The Air Force will do more tests for the ARRW and intends that the system will be installed and operational by the beginning of 2020. As soon as it is ready, this will be the first hypersonic weapon operating system developed by the United States.

With information from

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