The US Air Force (USAF) has conducted a successful hypersonic air-launched rapid response weapon (ARRW) test.
The flight test was conducted from Edwards Air Force Base (AFB) in California, US, on 14 May.
The test was executed by the 419th Flight Test Squadron (FTS) and the Global Power Bomber Combined Test Force (GPB CTF).
During the test, an AGM-183A ARRW was released from the B-52H Stratofortress long-range heavy bomber aircraft.
After separating from the aircraft, boosters of the ARRW ignited and burned for the expected duration required for achieving a hypersonic speed, which is five times greater than the speed of sound.
USAF weapons programme executive officer brigadier general Heath Collins said: “This was a major accomplishment by the ARRW team, for the weapons enterprise and our Air Force.
“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 hypersonic forward.”
The milestone achievement comes after a series of tests conducted over the past few years, with the first test conducted in June 2019.
According to the USAF, ARRW will allow the US forces to defeat time-sensitive, fixed and high-value targets from far distances in a contested condition.
The long-range hypersonic AGM-183A ARRW will also improve the precision-strike capabilities of the USAF, by launching rapid response strikes against protected land targets.
GPB CTF director and 419th FLTS commander lieutenant colonel Michael Jungquist said: “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.”