The first booster flight test of the Air Force’s AGM-183A Air-launched Rapid Response Weapon failed on April 5. The statement was made by the press service of the US Air Force.
“The ARRW program has been pushing boundaries since its inception and taking calculated risks to move this important capability forward,” said Brig. Gen. Heath A. Collins, Armament Directorate Program executive officer, in a release. “While not launching was disappointing, the recent test provided invaluable information to learn from and continue ahead. This is why we test.”
The test was conducted at Point Mugu Sea Range in California. It should be the first time ARRW would fired its booster vehicle and flew on its own. The missile did not “complete its launch sequence” and did not separate from the B-52H Stratofortress.
This would have been the eighth flight test for the ARRW program. Previously, there were seven captive carry flights.
Lockheed Martin’s hypersonic ARRW is intended to travel 500 miles in just 10 minutes once fired from a B-52 bomber. That’s 3,000 mph, versus about 500 mph for a conventional weapon.
In 2018, Lockheed Martin was awarded a contract worth up to $480 million by the UAF awarded for ARRW development, including the critical design review, testing and production readiness support.
Lockheed Martin, together with Raytheon Technologies, have designed hypersonic missiles within the Hypersonic Air-breathing Weapon Concept (HAWC) program run by the UAF and DARPA.
According to USAF officials the booster flight test was firstly scheduled to December 2020, then, a date was pushed to March 1 and then to early April.
“In fiscal 2021, Congress allotted $386 million to the Air Force for hypersonic prototyping — an increase of $5 million over the service’s budget request. But that funding came with sacrifices. Last year, the Air Force announced that it would cancel a separate hypersonic weapons program, the Hypersonic Conventional Strike Weapon also produced by Lockheed, due to budget constraints that forced the service to downselect to a single effort.” – Defense News reported.