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USAF Completes Loading Process Validation for Air-Launched Hypersonic Weapon

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The U.S. Air Force has validated the loading and unloading procedures of its first air-launched hypersonic weapon with a B-52H Stratofortress bomber at Barksdale Air Force Base in Louisiana, paving the way for its scheduled deployment in 2023.

The validation of the process enables the AGM-183A Air-Launched Rapid Response weapon to undergo live testing before the year ends and move to the production phase, Air Force Global Strike Command said Thursday. 

The ARRW is an air-to-ground missile designed to launch from a B-52H aircraft to neutralize high-value, time-sensitive targets.

During the validation process, airmen from the 2nd Maintenance Group, 307th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron worked with civilians from the ARRW and B-52H Stratofortress Systems Programs Office to develop standard procedures for loading the weapon onto the aircraft and unloading it.

“It demonstrates the far reaching capabilities of the B-52 and now projects its combat capabilities even further with the ARRW system,” said Master Sgt. Caleb Nolen, Air Force Global Strike B-52 armament systems manager.

In May, the ARRW launched from a B-52H bomber off the Southern California coast as part of a hypersonic weapon test effort to advance the development of the weapon system.