Home Air US Air Force’s ARRW hypersonic weapon flight test fails again

US Air Force’s ARRW hypersonic weapon flight test fails again

AGM-183A ARRW captive carry flight
US Air Force file photo of A B-52 carrying a prototype of the AGM-183A ARRW during a 2019 test

The US Air Force’s second attempt to carry out a booster flight test for the AGM-183A Air-launched Rapid Response Weapon (ARRW) was unsuccessful again after the rocket motor failed to ignite.

While the July 28 test over the Point Mugu Sea Range did not meet all flight objectives, it demonstrated several first-time events as the program continues to track toward fielding a hypersonic capability in the early 2020s, the air force said.

According to the Eglin Air Force Base, objectives for the test included demonstrating the safe release of the booster test vehicle from the B 52H and assessing booster performance.

After an Edwards AFB B-52 bomber released the ARRW test missile, dubbed Booster Test Vehicle 1b or BTV-1b, the missile cleanly separated from the aircraft and successfully demonstrated the full release sequence including GPS acquisition, umbilical disconnect and power transfer from the aircraft to the missile. The missile also demonstrated fin operation and de-confliction maneuvers which ensures a safe operation for the aircrew.

Following the safe separation maneuvers, the rocket motor did not ignite.

The first ARRW test from April this year experienced a similar problem after the booster vehicle failed to launch.

“Developing first-of-its-kind missiles is difficult business and this why we test,” said Brig. Gen. Heath Collins, the Air Force Program Executive Officer for Weapons. “This is a critical capability for our Air Force and we have the very best team working to figure out what happened, fix it and move out to deliver ARRW to our warfighters as quickly as possible.”

The Edwards-based 419th Flight Test Squadron and the Global Power Bomber Combined Test Force were involved in the testing.

Earlier this month, the air force conducted a more successful test of the ARRW warhead with the aim of accurately characterizing its effects.

The ARRW program aims to deliver a conventional hypersonic weapons capability in the early 2020s. The weapon system is designed to provide the ability to destroy high-value, time-sensitive targets. It will also expand precision-strike weapon systems’ capabilities by enabling rapid response strikes against heavily defended land targets.