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March 6, 2019 - The U.S. Air Force is preparing to test its first hypersonic missile. The AGM-183A can fly at 20 times the speed of sound, making it impossible for enemy defences to shoot down.
At some point in the next few weeks, a B-52H bomber will carry a missile high into the air and launch it at an unprecedented velocity toward its target, according to the U.S. Air Force.
That missile will then accelerate to more than five times the speed of sound before deploying a dummy second stage that will “disintegrate” somewhere in the atmosphere.
Once developed, the second stage will become a hypersonic glide warhead capable of reaching hypersonic speeds of up to Mach 20 (24,696km/h).
The ability of the glide vehicle to make more unpredictable movements compared to traditional ballistic missiles, while also following a largely atmospheric flight profile, makes it particularly well suited to penetrating enemy air and missile defenses to strike high-value targets with little to no advance notice.
The U.S. isn’t the only country working on hypersonic weapons technology. In October, China paraded launchers for land-attack DF-17 and anti-ship DF-100 hypersonic missiles.
While Russia is deploying nuclear-capable hypersonic Kinzhal air-launched missiles and Avangard glide vehicles released by RS-28 intercontinental-range missiles.
- US Air Force says it will test bizarre 'hypersonic' weapon this month (Space.com)
- AGM-183 ARRW (DEFPOST)
- What Is Trump’s 'Super Duper Missile'? (Popular Mechanics)
- AGM-183A Air-launched Rapid Response Weapon (AirForce Technology)
- The Pentagon Plans to Deploy An Arsenal Of Hypersonic Weapons In The 2020s (Forbes)