US Air Force launches first hypersonic missile that has an unknown speed

The United States Air Force has launched its first prototype hypersonic missile developed by Lockheed Martin that can travel at 15,000 mph.

1 minute & 18 seconds read time

The US Air Force (USAF) has tested its first prototype hypersonic missile that it expects will reach operational status, according to a USAF statement released on December 12.

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The new hypersonic missile called AGM-183A Air-launched Rapid Response Weapon, or ARRW (Arrow) for short, is developed by Lockheed Martin, and according to reports, its design is based on previous work by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). Notably, previous test vehicles designed by DARPA have alleged a ridiculous maximum speed of 15,000 mph, or Mach 20. However, that is yet to be fully confirmed.

Reports indicate that the US Air Force originally had doubts about the AGM-183A as testing since April 2021 has seen several failed attempts to showcase its performance capabilities. The failed tests casted doubt on the entire program, but now that the hypersonic missile has been tested off the Southern California coast on December 9, hope in the program has been reignited. According to the US Air Force, the missile is designed to take out high-value time-sensitive targets across the battlefield, meaning it will likely be used to destroy ground assets that are fixed and unable to move very quickly.

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"The ARRW team successfully designed and tested an air-launched hypersonic missile in five years. I am immensely proud of the tenacity and dedication this team has shown to provide a vital capability to our warfighter," said Brig. Gen. Jason Bartolomei, Armament Directorate Program Executive Officer, said in the USAF statement.

"This test was the first launch of a full prototype operational missile. Previous test events focused on proving the booster performance. Following the ARRW's separation from the aircraft, it reached hypersonic speeds greater than five times the speed of sound, completed its flight path and detonated in the terminal area. Indications show that all objectives were met," wrote the US Air Force.

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Jak joined the TweakTown team in 2017 and has since reviewed 100s of new tech products and kept us informed daily on the latest science, space, and artificial intelligence news. Jak's love for science, space, and technology, and, more specifically, PC gaming, began at 10 years old. It was the day his dad showed him how to play Age of Empires on an old Compaq PC. Ever since that day, Jak fell in love with games and the progression of the technology industry in all its forms. Instead of typical FPS, Jak holds a very special spot in his heart for RTS games.

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