US military tests hypersonic weapon — RT EN

The US has tested a new hypersonic weapon that is said to fly at five times the speed of sound and enable precise attacks. According to the US military, it was the first successful test of its kind.

The US military says it has successfully tested a hypersonic missile system for the first time. The new weapon therefore reached speeds of more than five times the speed of sound. After three unsuccessful attempts, this was the first successful launch of the rocket prototype.

As the Air Force announced on Monday, the test was carried out over the weekend near Edwards Air Force Base in California. During the test, a B-52 bomber fired the AGM-183A missile off the southern coast of California.

“After separation from the aircraft, the booster ignited and burned for the expected duration, reaching hypersonic speeds five times the speed of sound,” the US military said. US Air Force Weapons Program General Heath Collins described the test as a “great achievement”.

Although the US Department of Defense has claimed in the past that the weapon’s “boost-glide system” could theoretically reach speeds of up to Mach 20, 20 times the speed of sound, Saturday’s test showed much lower values. The US authorities did not provide any information on the range of the hypersonic missile achieved during the test. However, the US military had previously estimated their range at around 1,600 kilometers.

The hypersonic missile system, which defense contractor Lockheed Martin has been developing since 2018, has completed only a handful of flight tests so far, including three failed booster tests between April and December 2021. While previous tests of associated sensors and communications systems were successful, other technical problems prompted it the US authorities in April to postpone the continuation of the program by up to a year.

A few weeks earlier, the US government had cut funding for the US military’s flagship by half, citing the “recent failures and delays in testing” as the reason for the parliamentary decision. However, the US Air Force’s original plans to buy the first 12 missiles from Lockheed Martin this year have been scrapped by the government’s decision, leaving a number of questions about the procurement process unanswered.

The hypersonic missile system from the armaments manufacturer Lockheed Martin is not the only one of its kind that is in the works. The US Department of Defense reportedly conducted a secret test of a new “hypersonic air force concept” in mid-March, a US official told CNN. The unnamed official said at the time that the test was kept secret so as not to exacerbate current tensions with Russia, as the official said the test took place just weeks after the start of the Ukraine war.

Russia has also developed and deployed its own hypersonic weapons in recent years, including the Ch-47M2 Kinzhal (Dagger), which entered service at the end of 2017. In March, the Russian Defense Ministry said a kinshah had been used to destroy an ammunition dump in western Ukraine.

More on the subject – Strategic exercise: Russia tests nuclear-capable cruise missiles

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