US Conducts “Successful Test” Of Two Hypersonic Weapons
July 16, 2022 | Tags: ZEROHEDGEUS Conducts "Successful Test" Of Two Hypersonic Weapons
The US successfully conducted tests of two different hypersonic weapons, the US Air Force (USAF) and Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) announced, according to Reuters. Pentagon efforts to field hypersonic weapons on the modern battlefield have yet to occur, while China and Russia advance their hypersonic missiles in a new superpower arms race.
Hypersonic weapons are designed to travel more than Mach 5 (five times the speed of sound or about 3,850 mph) and outmaneuver the world's most advanced missile defense shields. The US has yet to field any hypersonic weapons, while China and Russia have already.
In a sign US hypersonic weapons could soon be fielded, USAF reported a successful test of its Air-Launched Rapid Response Weapon (ARRW) booster on Tuesday off the Southern California coast. The ARRW was air-launched from the wing of a Boeing B-52 Stratofortress. In previous tests this year, the weapon failed to launch (read: here & here).
"This second successful test demonstrates ARRW's ability to reach and withstand operational hypersonic speeds, collect crucial data for use in further flight tests, and validate safe separation from the aircraft," Lockheed said.
"We have now completed our booster test series and are ready to move forward to all-up-round testing later this year," Air Force Brigadier General Heath Collins said. What he means by "all-up-round" is a complete weapon test with a warhead in the next launch.
DARPA also completed a successful hypersonic weapon test at the White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico. The Operational Fires hypersonic weapon performed as expected, though few details were provided about speed and range and if the warhead struck a target.
Unlike ARRW's air launch from a bomber, Operational Fires is a ground-launched system that will "rapidly and precisely engage critical, time-sensitive targets while penetrating modern enemy air defenses."
Both successful tests come after a hypersonic weapon failed to ignite at the Pacific Missile Range Facility in Hawaii in late June.
What's evident is that the US is falling behind the hypersonic arms race as China and Russia have already fielded these weapons that travel at extraordinary speeds. Russia has even used hypersonic missiles in attacks against Ukraine. Meanwhile, China flew one around the world.
Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin testified in April before the House Armed Services Committee. He was involved in heated exchanges with lawmakers about the slow pace of the US hypersonic weapon program.
"You recently called in the defense industrial community that were involved in the hypersonics development as to how we can speed that up," Republican Representative Mike Turner of Ohio said. "We're behind our adversaries."
Even though the US spends more on national defense than China, India, Russia, the UK, Saudi Arabia, Germany, France, Japan, and South Korea — combined, the Pentagon has yet to field hypersonic weapons on the modern battlefield, while US' adversaries do.
And that's a significant problem for the Pentagon, which acts as the world's police.