US admits another failed hypersonic test – RT World News
Air Force Chief Frank Kendall told federal lawmakers launching an ARRW missile this month was ‘not a success’
The US Air Force has revealed at least the fourth failed test of a hypersonic missile system made by defense contractor Lockheed Martin, suggesting it is more likely to adopt a competing system built by Raytheon.
“The one we just had was not a success” Air Force Secretary Frank Kendall told members of a U.S. House committee on Tuesday. “We didn’t get the data we needed from that test, so they’re currently looking at that to try to figure out what happened.”
Kendall was referring to a March 13 test of the AGM-183A Air-Launched Rapid Response Weapon (ARRW), a hypersonic attack cruise missile, off the coast of Southern California. He gave no details about what was wrong with the launch. His comments may have surprised lawmakers because the Air Force issued a press release last week stating that the ARRW test “achieved several goals.” The release makes no mention of the test failing.
The ARRW has been in development since 2018 and was delayed after three failed booster tests in 2021. The Air Force claimed the missile’s first successful launch last May, saying it had reaches speeds in excess of Mach 5, five times the speed of sound.
US forces do not yet have a fully operational hypersonic missile system, as Washington has fallen behind Russia and China in the race to develop such weapons. Hypersonic missiles travel at speeds above Mach 5 and are highly maneuverable, making them difficult to shoot down.
In light of the latest ARRW test, the Air Force is “more engaged” to its other hypersonic program, the Hypersonic Attack Cruise Missile (HACM), Kendall told lawmakers. A budget decision on whether or not to adopt the ARRW is expected to be made next year, after no less than two more test launches.
The Air Force reportedly received about $423 million in research and development funding for the ARRW over the past two years, and it has requested an additional $150 million in its next fiscal year budget. Funding for HACM was $423 million for the current fiscal year alone, and the Air Force plans to spend an additional $1.9 billion on the program over the next five years. .
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The HACM program was “reasonably successful” so far, Kendall said. He added, “We see a definite role for the HACM concept. It’s compatible with more of our planes, and it’ll give us more combat capability overall.
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