The US Air Force AGM-183A air-launched rapid response weapon (ARRW) hypersonic missile has failed a test for the third time, according to a recent report by The Warzone.
The Air Force Life Cycle Management Command’s Armament Directorate revealed that the prototype missile failed to detach from its B-52H bomber host due to an unknown error.
“On 15 Dec. 2021, the Department of the Air Force attempted a booster test flight of the AGM-183A ARRW from a B-52 Stratofortress,” Air Force Brig. Gen. Heath Collins told the media outlet. “The launch sequence was aborted before release with an unknown issue.”
He added that the missile system would be returned to the factory to analyze its telemetry and onboard data. He said that the service would resume testing the hypersonic weapon “as quickly as possible.”
In April, the inaugural test of the American hypersonic missile was unsuccessful due to an issue with the aircraft carrying it. Three months later, the weapon separated successfully from the B-52H bomber in a second flight test, but its rocket engine failed to ignite.
The AGM-183A ARRW hypersonic missile is designed to propel to a designated altitude and release an unpowered hypersonic boost-glide vehicle, approaching targets at more than Mach 5.
The weapon has a high degree of maneuverability, rapidly changing course to make it extremely difficult for enemy forces to spot, track, and defend against.
The service had planned to conduct three booster tests this year. Air Force secretary Frank Kendall admitted that he is “not satisfied” with the pace of the missile development.
“We’re making some progress on the technology; I would like to see it be better,” he told Breaking Defense.
Retired Air Force Gen. John Hyten remarked that the service needs to be worried because the US has only conducted nine hypersonic missile tests, whereas China has already carried out “hundreds” of missile trials.
“Single digits vs hundreds is not a good place,” he said.