The U.S.A.F took another step towards fielding a hypersonic weapon following its final captive-carry test of the AGM-183A Air-launched Rapid Response Weapon (ARRW) under a wing of a B-52 Stratofortress off the Southern California coast on August 8.
The flight resulted in the successful transmission of telemetry and GPS data from the AGM-183A IMV-2 (Instrumented Measurement Vehicle) to Point Mugu Sea Range ground stations. The test verified system integration with the B-52 launch platform and telemetry while practicing concepts of operations that will be utilized during its first Booster Test Flight later this year, the service said in a statement.
The ARRW program is a rapid prototyping project aimed at delivering a conventional hypersonic weapons capability to the Warfighter in the early 2020s. The weapon system is designed to provide combatant commanders the capability to destroy high-value, time-sensitive targets.
ARRW will also expand precision-strike weapon systems’ capabilities by enabling rapid response strikes against heavily defended land targets.
“The event this week demonstrated the ability to communicate with the prototype weapon; the entire team is excited to take the next step and begin energetic flight test of our first air-launched hypersonic weapons,” said Lt. Col. Michael Jungquist, 419th Flight Test Squadron Commander and Global Power Bomber Combined Test Force Director. “These weapons will enable application of conventional firepower anywhere in the world at eye-watering speed.”
The 419th FLTS and Global Power Bomber CTF conduct flight test missions utilizing the Air Force’s inventory of bomber aircraft.
The ARRW program development began with the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency’s Tactical Boost Glide demonstration system, which will be integrated into the ARRW payload. It has successfully completed two prior captive-carry tests.
This test of the AGM-183A IMV-2 was the culmination of efforts from across the Air Force Test Center enterprise, the Naval Air Warfare Center Weapons Division at Point Mugu, the ARRW Program Office and Lockheed Martin.