Failed test jolts US hypersonic ambitions
The USAF on 6 April announced a ‘setback’ in its quest to develop hypersonic weapons, after experiencing a failed booster vehicle flight test (BTF-1) for the prototype Lockheed Martin AGM-183A Air-launched Rapid Response Weapon (ARRW).
The booster vehicle for the conventional hypersonic glide weapon prototype failed to launch from a BH-52 Stratofortress on 5 April, in a flight from Edwards AFB to the Point Mugu Sea Range.
It would have been the eighth flight test for ARRW following seven captive carriage missions, the USAF noted.
It added that BTF-1 objectives ‘included demonstrating the safe release of the booster test vehicle from the B‑52H as well as assessing booster performance, booster-shroud separation, and simulated glider separation’.
No details are available as to when the flight test will be rescheduled.
Brig Gen Heath Collins, Armament Directorate Program Executive Officer at the US Air Force Life Cycle Management Center, said ‘calculated risks’ were taking to move the ARRW programme forward.
He added: ‘While not launching was disappointing, the recent test provided invaluable information to learn from and continue ahead. This is why we test.’
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