USAF tested the AGM-183A Hypersonic missile

On May 14, one of the United States Air Force’s B-52H Stratofortress successfully dropped an Hypersonic AGM-183A Air-launched Rapid Response Weapon, also known as an ARRW, off the coast of Southern California.

USAF tested the AGM-183A Hypersonic missile
Test of the AGM-183A Air-launched Rapid Response Weapon Instrumented Measurement Vehicle 2 at the Point Mugu Sea Range off the Southern California coast. (US Air Force photo by Giancarlo Casem)

According to the statement from the United States Air Force (USAF):

“Following separation from the aircraft, the ARRW’s booster ignited and burned for expected duration, achieving hypersonic speeds five times greater than the speed of sound. 

“This was a major accomplishment by the ARRW team, for the weapons enterprise, and our Air Force,” said Brig. Gen. Heath Collins, Air Force Program Executive Officer for Weapons. “The team’s tenacity, expertise, and commitment were key in overcoming the past year’s challenges to get us to the recent success. We are ready to build on what we’ve learned and continue moving hypersonics forward.”  

The 419th Flight Test Squadron and the Global Power Bomber Combined Test Force, or GPB CTF, both at Edwards Air Force Base, California, executed the test. 

“The test team made sure we executed this test flawlessly,” said Lt. Col. Michael Jungquist, 419th FLTS commander and GPB CTF director. “Our highly-skilled team made history on this first air-launched hypersonic weapon. We’re doing everything we can to get this game-changing weapon to the warfighter as soon as possible.” 

ARRW is designed to enable the U.S. to hold fixed, high-value, time-sensitive targets at risk in contested environments from stand-off distances. It will also expand precision-strike capabilities by enabling rapid response strikes against heavily defended land targets” the statement of US Air Force concludes.

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