US Army Aborts Dark Eagle Hypersonic Weapon Test for Third Time

The US Army has canceled a scheduled flight test of its new Dark Eagle hypersonic weapon at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida.

The test, which was also supposed to demonstrate the service’s Weapon Control System and Battery Operations Center, was aborted following “automated pre-flight checks.”

The army did not specify what it found during the pre-flight evaluation but said it was still able to collect data on the performance of the weapon’s ground hardware and software.

According to a spokesperson for the Office of the Secretary of Defense, all data collected from the aborted flight test will be used to “continue progress toward fielding offensive hypersonic weapons.”

The US Army and the US Department of Defense did not disclose when the next Dark Eagle flight test would take place.

The Dark Eagle

The US Army’s Dark Eagle is a highly maneuverable hypersonic missile capable of executing abrupt course changes during flight.

It has a rocket booster that propels an unpowered hypersonic boost-glide vehicle to reach a speed of over Mach 5.

The vehicle then embarks on an autonomous journey towards the target, with a relatively shallow atmospheric flight trajectory.

The missile poses serious challenges to enemy forces due to its ability to detect incoming threats and neutralize them with speed and precision.

Testing Woes

The Dark Eagle’s flight tests, originally scheduled for last year, have been postponed three times due to several problems.

During previous attempts, the missile experienced pre-flight issues, causing the test to be rescheduled to early 2023.

The test was then moved to a later date in 2023 due to a battery issue discovered during pre-flight checks.

“We are aggressively investigating the cause of the no test and will continue to move forward with our development and additional testing in support of Army fielding as soon as the cause is identified and corrected,” US military official Johnny Wolfe said during a Congressional hearing.

The delays in Dark Eagle flight tests have prompted concerns about the army’s ability to meet the timeline and declare the weapon combat-ready by September 2023.

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