USAF B-52 bomber conducts simulated hypersonic kill chain employment
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USAF B-52 bomber conducts simulated hypersonic kill chain employment

11 May 2021 (Last Updated May 11th, 2021 12:23)

The US Air Force’s (USAF) B-52 Stratofortress bomber has demonstrated a simulated hypersonic kill chain employment.

USAF B-52 bomber conducts simulated hypersonic kill chain employment
A B-52 Stratofortress from Barksdale AFB sits on the ramp at Eglin AFB. Credit: US Army / Sgt Michael Parnell.

Carried out during the ongoing Northern Edge 21 exercise, the missile strike involved the use of targeting data from sensors positioned more than 1,000nm away.

During the nearly 13-hour sortie from Barksdale Air Force Base (AFB) to Alaska, US, and back, the B-52 was able to receive target data from sensors through the All-Domain Operations Capability experiment (ADOC-E).

Upon receiving the data from the ADOC-E, B-52 Stratofortress was then able to take a simulated shot of the target from 600nm using an AGM-183 Air Launched Rapid Response Weapon (ARRW).

The AGM-183A ARRW is a long-range hypersonic missile designed by Lockheed Martin for the USAF.

53rd Test Management Group deputy commander lieutenant colonel Joe Little said: “We were really exercising the data links that we needed in order to complete that kill chain loop, and then get the feedback to the players in the airspace that the simulated hypersonic missile was fired and effective.”

According to USAF, the missile strike was a successful showcase of beyond line of sight (BLOS) Kill Chain employment.

49th Test and Evaluation Squadron commander lieutenant colonel Matt Guasco said: “The team did an outstanding job effecting this event both in planning and execution.

“This is a win for the US Air Force and greater DOD as a whole but make no mistake, we are just getting started.”

USAF noted that the ADOC-E is a ‘joint team representing the operational-level “blue” training audience designed to experiment with synchronising joint functions in forward locations’.

Northern Edge 21 is a US Indo-Pacific Command exercise designed to provide ‘high-end, realistic warfighter training’ and is aimed at enhancing joint interoperability.

The exercise, which started on 3 May, is being conducted on and above the Joint Pacific Alaska Range Complex, the Gulf of Alaska, and temporary maritime activities area.