Home Air US Air Force’s ARRW hypersonic weapon logs another unsuccessful flight test

US Air Force’s ARRW hypersonic weapon logs another unsuccessful flight test

AGM-183A ARRW test
US Air Force file photo of AGM-183A Air-launched Rapid Response Weapon Instrumented Measurement Vehicle 2 on a B-52 bomber

The US Air Force carried out another unsuccessful test of its AGM-183A Air-Launched Rapid Response Weapon hypersonic missile on December 15.

As reported by The War Zone, this was the third time the prototype missile failed to demonstrate its flight capability. The first two attempts took place in April this year, when the booster vehicle failed to launch, and in July, when a similar problem hampered the test.

The cause of the most recent test failure is yet to be determined, The War Zone reported the Air Force Life Cycle Management Command’s Armament Directorate as saying. What is known is that the test missile never separated from the wing of B-52H bomber that carried it.

“The launch sequence was aborted before release with an unknown issue. The missile will return to the factory and analysis of the telemetry and onboard data will begin immediately. The program will seek to resume flight test as quickly as possible,” Air Force Brig. Gen. Heath Collins, the service’s Program Executive Officer for Weapons, was quoted as saying by The War Zone.

Despite the persistent problems with the hypersonic weapon’s booster vehicle, the AGM-183A program has managed to demonstrate several successes, including a successful warhead test in July this year. The detonation of the missile’s warhead collected data on the lethality of the unique weapon.

Prior to that, the air force demonstrated a simulated kill chain employment from sensor to shooter and back with the AGM-183A during exercise Northern Edge.

The ARRW program is a rapid prototyping project aimed at delivering a conventional hypersonic weapons capability in the early 2020s. The service previously said the objective was to achieve early operational capability with the ARRW before Fiscal Year 2023.

ARRW is designed to provide combatant commanders the capability 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.