National Security

U.S. Military Test Launched its Hypersonic Missile Prototype

The U.S. military test launched its hypersonic missile prototype, the very first operational test of the weapon.

According to reports, the missile, known as the AGM-183A Air Launched Rapid Response Weapon (ARRW), was carried on a B-52 Stratofortress aircraft on 12 June at Edwards Air Force Base. A sensor-only version of the ARRW prototype was carried externally by the B-52 during the test to gather environmental and aircraft handling data.

In August 2018, the Air Force awarded a contract to Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control to develop the hypersonic missile. The fact that the U.S. military already test launched its hypersonic missile prototype shows the high-priority status of hypersonic weapons for America’s armed forces. “We’re using the rapid prototyping authorities provided by Congress to quickly bring hypersonic weapon capabilities to the warfighter,” Will Roper, assistant secretary of the Air Force for acquisition, technology and logistics, said in a statement. “This type of speed in our acquisition system is essential—it allows us to field capabilities rapidly to compete against the threats we face.”

Indeed, the test highlights the urgency of the military to acquire these weapons and to maintain an edge in all areas of hypersonic technology—including defending against it. Hypersonic weapons are a key research and development area because of the ongoing arms race with the other great power rivals, Russia and China. Hypersonics are particularly deadly because of their high speeds (in excess of Mach 5) and their maneuverability, which gives them the ability to evade most modern missile defense systems.

The opinions expressed here by contributors are their own and are not the view of OpsLens which seeks to provide a platform for experience-driven commentary on today's trending headlines in the U.S. and around the world. Have a different opinion or something more to add on this topic? Contact us for guidelines on submitting your own experience-driven commentary.
Samuel Siskind

Samuel Siskind studied intelligence research at the American Military University in West Virginia. He served as a squad commander in the Israeli Defense Force (IDF) Corp of Combat Engineers, in the Corps' ground battalions and later in its Intelligence Wing at regional and divisional stations. For the past five years, Samuel has worked as a consultant and researcher on physical and information security issues for private and governmental institutions, in the US, Africa, India, and Israel. He currently lives in Jerusalem.

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