US Air Force Ditches ARRW Hypersonic Missile Development

The US Air Force will no longer pursue the development of its troubled Air-launched Rapid Response Weapon (ARRW) hypersonic missile program.

The decision was announced Friday by acquisition chief Andrew Hunter in a written statement to the House Armed Services tactical air and land forces subcommittee.

According to his statement, the air force will not pursue follow-on procurement of the ARRW when prototyping ends.

In the 2024 budget request that includes the hypersonic program, Hunter said the funds will only be used to finish all-up-round tests.

It would also help the US Air Force gather critical information and test data to inform future hypersonic missile initiatives.

‘Rocky’ Development

The unexpected end of ARRW development is a major blow to the country’s efforts to field an arsenal of hypersonic weapons.

Defense officials have warned that Russia and China already operate similar systems, and the ARRW could have been the US’ first operational hypersonic weapon.

ARRW development has been fraught with difficulty from the beginning.

Earlier this week, US Air Force secretary Frank Kendall revealed that the latest trial of the hypersonic weapon was unsuccessful, putting the entire program in jeopardy.

Despite the unfortunate circumstances, the service may still have an operational hypersonic system in the Hypersonic Attack Cruise Missile, which is in development.

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