Home Americas US Army, Navy complete joint hypersonic flight tests

US Army, Navy complete joint hypersonic flight tests

Hypersonic weapons test launch by SNL
Three sounding rockets were launched on Oct. 20, in support of research for hypersonic weapons programs. Photo: Sandia National Laboratories

The US Navy’s Strategic Systems Programs (SSP) and the Army’s Hypersonic Program Office (AHPO) completed what they referred to as a “high operational tempo for hypersonics” flight campaign on October 20.

This flight campaign was executed by Sandia National Laboratories (SNL) from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Wallops flight facility.

This test will be used to inform the development of the Navy’s Conventional Prompt Strike (CPS) and the Army’s Long Range Hypersonic Weapon (LRHW) offensive hypersonic strike capability.

According to the navy, the test demonstrated advanced hypersonic technologies, capabilities, and prototype systems in a realistic operating environment.

Three precision sounding rocket launches were conducted containing hypersonic experiments from partners, including CPS, AHPO, the Joint Hypersonic Transition Office, SNL, Johns Hopkins University/Applied Physics Laboratory, MITRE, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, and several defense contractors.

During weapon system development, precision sounding rocket launches fill a critical gap between ground testing and full system flight testing. These launches allow for frequent and regular flight testing opportunities to support rapid maturation of offensive and defensive hypersonic technologies.

The flight campaign from October 20 follows earlier program milestones, including the live fire ground test of the first stage solid rocket motor for the hypersonic weapon systems from May this year, and the the second stage solid rocket motor (SRM) test from August this year. The services earlier tested a common hypersonic glide body (C-HGB) for the two systems.

Th latest test is a vital step in the development of a Navy-designed common hypersonic missile, consisting of a CHGB and booster, which will be fielded by both the Navy and Army with individual weapon systems and launchers tailored for launch from sea or land.