First Test of Warhead for U.S. Air Force’s First Hypersonic Missile

  • Our Bureau
  • 08:31 AM, July 8, 2021
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First Test of Warhead for U.S. Air Force’s First Hypersonic Missile
B-52 bomber carrying the AGM-183A ARRW hypersonic missile

The U.S. Air Force detonated a warhead for its hypersonic weapon, Lockheed Martin AGM-183A Air-launched Rapid Response Weapon (ARRW), for the first time.

The Air Force said in a statement that the 780th Test Squadron, based at Eglin Air Force base in Florida, detonated an AGM-183A Air-Launched Rapid Response Weapon warhead for the first time “recently.”

The first-of-its-kind test for the air-to-ground, rocket-powered, high-altitude, hypersonic missile collected data on the lethality of the unique weapon.

“Some of the firsts were the new and unorthodox design and construction of the test arena, the test procedures and equipment, the warhead’s fragmentation data collecting and the post-test data processing to ensure the warhead’s effects have been accurately characterized,” the service said in a statement July 7.

The unique nature and shape of the warhead required a lot of firsts for everyone involved, according to the test’s manager, said David Spiker, a member of the 780th TS.

A booster flight test of ARRW took place in April 2021 at Point Mugu Sea Range, off the coast of Southern California but did not launch successfully. However a follow-up test in May for the ARRW's avionics, sensors and communications systems, was successful, using a B-52 based system, on a flight to Alaska from Barksdale Air Force Base in Louisiana.

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