The U.S. Air Force has concluded flight testing of a palletized weapon system designed to drop from cargo aircraft then strike targets.
The Rapid Dragon Palletized Weapon System demonstrated an airdrop with a live warhead on Thursday at Eglin Overwater Test Range, Eglin Air Force Base said the same day. The final flight test made use of standard airdrop procedures and is the culmination of a two-year timeline.
An MC-130J aircraft from Air Force Special Operations Command airdropped a four-cell Rapid Dragon flight test vehicle and three mass simulants. The FTV spread its wings to gain aerodynamic control, activated its engine and approached then struck a target.
The Rapid Dragon team now plans to test-fire a cruise missile from a C-17 transport aircraft this coming spring.
“Rapid Dragon is a prime example of a government/industry partnership that embraces this acceleration mindset, building a community of subject matter experts and executing an aggressive, but well-thought-out, experimentation campaign,” said Dean Evans, Rapid Dragon’s program manager at the Air Force’s Strategic Development Planning and Experimentation office.