“Air Force conducts test flight of AGM-183A Air-launched Rapid Response Weapon the second on July 28,” reads a U.S. Air Force press release on Friday (07/30/2021).
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“While not meeting all flight objectives, the test demonstrated several first-time events as the program progressed toward hypersonic capability.”
The US Air Force said the hypersonic missile managed to separate from the B-52 bomber carrying it, but the rocket motor did not fire.
Earlier in April, during its first test run, a similar missile failed to separate itself from a bomber. This causes the testing process to suddenly stop.
The second test, conducted at Edwards Air Force Base in California on July 28, was a minor upgrade from the first but was not the way the U.S. Air Force wanted it to end.
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According to the US Air Force, the purpose of the second test was release booster safe from bombers and assess their performance. The warhead on a hypersonic missile was successfully tested earlier this month and is not part of this test.
During the trial at the Point Mugu Sea Range, booster successfully separated from the bomber following all points of the release sequence including GPS acquisition, disconnection, and power transfer to the missile. Fin booster also in action and maneuver de-confliction which ensures that the missile does not harm the bomber.
The next step in the testing process is ignition booster which will bring the missile to its hypersonic speed. However, the booster rocket failed to fire. Given it was a defense project, the US Air Force did not disclose the cause of the failure. However, it remains committed to the rapid development of weapons.
Brigadier General Heath Collins, Executive Officer of the Pentagon’s Weapons Program said; “Developing the first missile is a tough business, and this is why we put it to the test. We have the best team working to find out what happened, fix it and move on to getting the ARRWs on to our fighter jets as quickly as possible.”
The hypersonic missile program, which is slated for deployment in 2020, will cost US taxpayers an estimated $3.8 billion in 2022 alone. There is added pressure now that Russia has demonstrated its capabilities with its Zircon hypersonic missile.