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US accelerates hypersonic weapon development

25th October 2021 - 16:20 GMT | by The Shephard News Team

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Three precision sounding hypersonic rocket launches were carried out in the US on 20 October. (Photo: USN)

Latest flight campaign reflects DoD priority to field hypersonic weapons by the mid-2020s.

The USN and US Army have jointly tested advanced hypersonic technologies, capabilities, and prototype systems in a realistic operating environment.

Three precision sounding rocket launches were conducted on 20 October, the USN announced on 21 October. The results will inform development of the USN Conventional Prompt Strike (CPS) and the US Army Long Range Hypersonic Weapon (LRHW) offensive hypersonic strike capabilities.

The launches were carried out by Sandia National Laboratories (SNL) at the NASA Wallops Flight Facility.

Precision sounding rocket launches ‘fill a critical gap’ between ground testing and full system flight testing of a hypersonic weapon, the USN noted, to ‘support rapid maturation of offensive and defensive hypersonic technologies.

These technologies include the USN-designed hypersonic missile, comprising a Common Hypersonic Glide Body (CHGB) and booster, which will be fielded by the USN and US Army with individual weapon systems and launchers tailored for launch from sea or land.

The CHGB underwent tests in March 2020 and the USN stated that it will continue to work ‘in close collaboration’ with the US Army to leverage joint testing opportunities for hypersonic weapons in line with stated DoD priorities.

The DoD aims to field a hypersonic warfighting capability in the early-to mid-2020s.

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