War chiefs revealed the successful flight test of B-52 Stratofortresses armed with their latest weapon – the ARRW.
Hypersonic weapons can fly at speeds of Mach 5 or faster – the equivalent of one mile per second.
The Daily Star Reports:
The tech is the latest frontier in military weapons, with the US, Russia and China all racing to master it.
Pictures released by Edwards Air Force Base show the missile slung beneath the wing of the bomber.
B-52s are the main long-range strategic bomber of the US Air Force.
ARRW – full name AGM-183A Air Launched Rapid Response Weapon – has been developed by aerospace giant Lockheed Martin.
The prototype was flown by the B52 to gather information of how to impacted the plane’s handling and how to coped with the flight.
It is expected the weapon will be fully operational in 2022.
Lockheed Martin was commissioned to develop the weapon in August 2018 by the Pentagon.
Dr Will Roper, from the air force, said: “We’re using the rapid prototyping authorities provided by US Congress to quickly bring hypersonic weapon capabilities to the warfighter.
“We set out an aggressive schedule with ARRW.
“Getting to this flight test on time highlights the amazing work of our acquisition workforce and our partnership with Lockheed Martin and other industry partners.”
Roper added: “This type of speed in our acquisition system is essential – it allows us to field capabilities rapidly to compete against the threats we face.”
B-52s are the largest bombers in the arsenal of the US, and are capable of carrying nuclear weapons.
The subsonic strategic bomber can carry up to 32,000kg of bombs.
And the aircraft were designed to launch nuclear strikes Russia during the Cold War.
Hypersonic tech has become a new frontier for scientists and engineers worldwide.
Russia has boasted it is developing hypersonic missiles which will render US military defences “useless”.
President Vladimir Putin said: “We know for certain, it’s an obvious fact and our colleagues realise it, that we surpassed all our competitors in this area.
“Nobody has precise hypersonic weapons. Some plan to test theirs in 18 to 24 months.
“We have them in service already.”
From The Daily Star