A day earlier, the US Air Force conducted a successful test of the ARRW (Air-Launched Rapid Response Weapon) hypersonic rocket booster.
The ground-launched missile was tested at the US Army's White Sands missile range in New Mexico. The launch was made from a launcher equipped on a ten-wheeled tractor. Such in the United States are used to transport and launch medium-range missiles. The rocket body came out of the launch tube. She flew along a stable trajectory and obeyed the artillery fire control system.
Lockheed Martin Corporation acted as a contractor in the development and creation of the rocket, but other companies also contributed. For example, the rocket booster was developed by Northrop Grumman. The accelerator successfully accelerated the system to hypersonic speed. What exactly was this figure, DARPA did not report. It is generally accepted that hypersound starts at Mach 5.
DARPA abandoned the idea of developing a specialized launcher and used an existing palletized one for three missiles. Tests have shown that launches can be made from other similar trucks. “This is a promising experience. The highly maneuverable and easily accessible logistics trucks that the Army and Marine Corps already have in service will be able to launch missiles,” said Lt. Col. Joshua Stults, program manager for OpFires.
As for the Air Force, the pilots reported on the tests of the AGM-183 A ARRW rocket with a solid fuel booster. Lockheed Martin Corporation is also the general contractor for this project. In the future, judging by the words of a representative of the Boeing company involved in the creation of the system, the rocket will be able to exceed the speed of Mach 20 and fly at a distance of about 900 kilometers. According to available information, its length is 6.7 meters, and its weight is about three tons.
This is the third test of the rocket in free flight, and the only one to be considered completely successful. At the first launch, the rocket refused to leave the aircraft pylon, at the second launch, the engine did not start, and the rocket fell into the Pacific Ocean. Like previous tests, the current launch was carried out from the pylon of a B-52H Stratofortress strategic bomber off the coast of Southern California.
According to the Office of Government Accountability's 2022 annual weapons systems assessment, the US administration's efforts to build hypersonic weapons systems as soon as possible and catch up with Russia and China have so far been unsuccessful. Unsuccessful tests last year and this year under the ARRW program delayed development by eleven months. As a result, the start of missile production, scheduled for this year, has been postponed to the next.