Air Force About to Make First Hypersonic Missile Flight, After Recent Failure
Feb. 26, 2021 |By John A. Tirpak
The AGM-183A Air-launched Rapid Response Weapon will make its first all-up flight within the next seven days, following a recent failure of the system, hypersonics experts revealed at AFA’s virtual Aerospace Warfare Symposium. The system will go into production within a year.
“We actually have hardware built and are getting ready for our first booster flight test next week,” Brig. Gen. Heath A. Collins, program executive officer for weapons and director of the Air Force’s armament directorate, said in a panel discussion.
“So, there’s real hardware coming,” he said. “We’re also getting ready to transition into production in about a year on that program, so it will be the first air-launched hypersonic weapon that the Air Force has.”
Maj. Gen. Andrew Gebara, Global Strike Command director of strategic plans, programs and requirements, confirmed Collins’ remark, saying the ARRW test will happen “imminently,” and that “we’ll have operational capability … by ’22, or two AFA Orlandos from now.”
Collins said that “earlier this year … we had a slight bump on the road in test,” but the integrated government-industry team “focused, found the flaw, fixed the flaw, [and] got a corrective action in the air in less than 30 days … That just tells you that the team is really tight.”