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Persistence pays off with ARRW hypersonic test

18th May 2022 - 13:00 GMT | by The Shephard News Team

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An AGM-183A missile is secured aboard a USAF B-52H Stratofortress before a captive carry test in August 2020. (Photo: USAF/Giancarlo Casem)

The ARRW air-launched hypersonic missile test programme has had its share of delays and mishaps, but Lockheed Martin and the USAF have finally conducted a successful boosted flight test.

Lockheed Martin announced on 17 May that it has successfully conducted a boosted flight test with the USAF of the AGM-183A Air-launched Rapid Response Weapon (ARRW) hypersonic missile.

The successful flight with a B-52H Stratofortress ‘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’, Lockheed Martin stated.

‘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,’ said Dave Berganini, VP of hypersonic and strike systems at Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control.

Development of the AGM-183A began in 2018 but progress has been patchy with failed booster tests in 2021, for example in July when the motor did not ignite.

The General Accountability Office has criticised the programme for delays and spiralling costs, noting in March 2021 that ARRW might only achieve a ‘residual operational capability’ in late FY2022.

In its FY2023 budget proposal, the USAF stated that it intends to spend $46.6 million on a single ARRW.

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