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US eyes B-1 for prototype air-launched hypersonic strike capability

27th April 2020 - 15:00 GMT | by Jason Sherman in New York

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The USAF plans to upgrade B-1 Lancer bombers (pictured) to carry substantial loads of some of the most advanced long-range munitions in the US inventory, including a prototype air-launched hypersonic weapon. 

Gen Timothy Ray, head of Air Force Global Strike Command, said the USAF is looking to modify a squadron of B-1s to increase the long-range precision strike payload, in order to deliver substantial punch from standoff range in the opening salvos of a conflict. 

A squadron (typically 18 aircraft) is to be outfitted with external pylons to carry up to six ‘Arrow’ AGM-183 Air-Launched Rapid Response Weapons (ARRWs).

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