The U.S. Air Force has launched a Lockheed Martin-built hypersonic missile from the service’s B-52H Stratofortress aircraft during a flight test off the Southern California coast.
The defense contract said Tuesday the AGM-183A Air-launched Rapid Response Weapon demonstrated its ability to reach operational hypersonic speeds.
In a separate statement, the Air Force said the ARRW hypersonic weapon traveled five times faster than the speed of sound after it separated from the B-52H aircraft.
“The need for hypersonic strike capabilities is critical to our nation and this successful test will help us to maintain an accelerated and rigorous timeline,” said Dave Berganini, vice president of hypersonic and strike systems at Lockheed’s missiles and fire control unit.
The ARRW system is expected to reach early operational capability in 2023 after completing test flight operations in 2022.
The 419th Flight Test Squadron and the Global Power Bomber Combined Test Force at Edwards Air Force Base in California performed the hypersonic-boosted flight test.