The US Air Force has revealed it successfully conducted a test firing of a hypersonic Lockheed Martin AGM-183A Air-launched Rapid Response Weapon (ARRW) off California on 14 May.
The test saw the missile launched by a B-52H from Edwards AFB and burn for the expected duration to achieve speeds above Mach 5. It was the fourth attempt to test the AGM-183A, with the previous three failing for various reasons. It was not revealed if the missile deployed its hypersonic glide vehicle.
“This was a major accomplishment by the ARRW team, for the weapons enterprise, and our Air Force,” US Air Force Program Executive Officer for Weapons, BrigGen Heath Collins said in a release. “The team’s tenacity, expertise, and commitment were key in overcoming the past year’s challenges to get us to the recent success. We are ready to build on what we’ve learned and continue moving hypersonics forward.”
The 419th FLTS commander and GPB CTF director, LtCol Michael Jungquist added, “The test team made sure we executed this test flawlessly. Our highly-skilled team made history on this first air-launched hypersonic weapon. We’re doing everything we can to get this game-changing weapon to the warfighter as soon as possible.”
The USAF says the ARRW is designed to hold fixed, high-value, time-sensitive targets at risk in contested environments from stand-off distances, and will also expand precision-strike capabilities by enabling rapid response strikes against heavily defended land targets.
In a separate company release, Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control vice president of Hypersonic and Strike Systems, Dave Berganini said, “The need for hypersonic strike capabilities is critical to our nation and this successful test will help us to maintain an accelerated and rigorous timeline. Our strong partnership with the US Air Force has allowed us to quickly progress hypersonic technologies for our men and women in uniform.”
The US Air Force ARRW program director, Marya Bard said, “The ARRW rapid prototyping program used Section 804 authorities provided by Congress to significantly accelerate the development and test of this system, without sacrificing engineering rigor. The tightly-integrated Lockheed Martin and government team achieved speed with discipline by focusing on a common vision of providing combatant commanders a survivable rapid response strike capability as early as possible.”