The head of the military corps recognized him when he appeared before the congressmen of the Assignments Committee.
The test of the prototype of a hypersonic weapon, carried out by the United States this March, turned out to be unsuccessful, acknowledged Frank Kendall, head of the US Air Force.
Last Friday, the Air Force reported on the test carried out on March 13, in what was the second pitch of a fully operational prototype of its supersonic missile AGM-183Adeveloped under the Airdrop Rapid Response (ARRWfor its acronym in English).
Unlike the report issued last December on a previous test, -which clearly indicated that the missile “completed its flight path” and that “all targets were hit”-, this one now limited itself to announcing that the test “met several of the objectives” and that the team’s engineers and testers “are collecting data for later analysis“. Such a formulation raised suspicions that some inconvenience had occurred during the last trial.
Speaking Tuesday before a panel of the House Appropriations Committee, Kendall clarified the situation: “The [prueba] what we just did did not succeed. We didn’t get the data we needed.”
The high official told the congressmen, in the framework of a session on the budget request Department of Defense annual report, that its military branch is more focused on its other major program, the Hypersonic Attack Cruise Missile (HACM), and that the prospects for ARRW will be determined by analyzing data from the last test and carry out possibly two more essays.
The Air Force detailed in its fiscal year 2024 budget request that it would complete development of prototypes and flight tests of the AGM-183A that year, and requested $150 million to do so.
The AGM-183A missile, developed by Lockheed-Martin, is considered the first weapon of the ARRW type in the American arsenal. It uses a sophisticated propeller that is placed under the wing of the B-52H Stratofortress bombers to accelerate the speed of the projectile, from which a glider detaches that carries its explosive charge towards the target.
“In Arms Race”
Hypersonic weapons are capable of reaching speeds five times higher to that of sound, in addition to maneuvering and changing its direction and altitude, which today makes it impossible to interception.
As early as 2021, a senior US official confessed that the US hypersonic program is not as advanced as China’s or Russia’s. Therefore, he said, Washington had to “catch up quickly” in order to catch up with Beijing and Moscow.
That same year, Kendall confirmed that the US and China are engaged in “an arms race” to develop deadliest hypersonic weapons.