USAF Conducts Maiden Hypersonic Weapon Warhead Test

The US Air Force (USAF) has detonated an AGM-183A Air-Launched Rapid Response Weapon (ARRW) warhead in a first-time test.

The AGM-183 ARRW is a hypersonic missile prototype being developed by the airforce and Lockheed Martin to equip aircraft with the capability to strike “high value, time-sensitive” targets.

According to the USAF, the missile’s hypersonic speed enhances its precision strike capabilities “by enabling survivable rapid response strikes against heavily defended targets.”

Integration With B-52H, B-1 Bombers

The developers are planning an “operational prototype, with a solid-fuel booster and conventional ordnance package, which will be carried on the B-52H strategic bomber,” Janes reported.

The outlet added that the USAF Global Strike Command is also considering equipping the B-1 Lancer strategic bomber with the weapon.

Test Required ‘Lot of Firsts’

Meanwhile, the 780th Test Squadron, based at Eglin Air Force Base in Florida, said that testing the warhead required “a lot of firsts” to collect 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 USAF wrote in their statement.

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