The second test of the U.S. Air Force's AGM-183A Air-launched Rapid Response Weapon (ARRW) hypersonic missile is deemed a failure.
The Air Force tested the missile from a B-52H Stratofortress strategic bomber in Point Mugu training ground near California on July 28. The Edwards-based 419th Flight Test Squadron and the Global Power Bomber Combined Test Force were involved in the testing.
In a statement, the service said it did not meet all flight objectives.
Objectives for the test included demonstrating the safe release of the booster test vehicle from the B 52H and assessing booster performance. An Edwards AFB B-52 released the ARRW test missile, dubbed Booster Test Vehicle 1b or BTV-1b, over Point Mugu Sea Range.
The missile cleanly separated from the aircraft and successfully demonstrated the full release sequence including GPS acquisition, umbilical disconnect and power transfer from the aircraft to the missile. The missile also demonstrated fin operation and de-confliction maneuvers which ensures a safe operation for the aircrew.
Following the safe separation maneuvers, the rocket motor did not ignite.
"The ARRW team continues to progress through the rapid prototyping effort with a steadfast commitment to the well-being of Airmen and equipment, striking a balance between prudent risk and rapid advancement of the program," the Air Force said.
“Developing first-of-its-kind missiles is difficult business and this why we test,” said Brig. Gen. Heath Collins, the Air Force Program Executive Officer for Weapons. “This is a critical capability for our Air Force and we have the very best team working to figure out what happened, fix it and move out to deliver ARRW to our warfighters as quickly as possible.”
A booster flight test of ARRW took place in April 2021at Point Mugu Sea Range but did not launch successfully. However a follow-up test in May for the ARRW's avionics, sensors and communications systems, was successful, using a B-52 based system, on a flight to Alaska from Barksdale Air Force Base in Louisiana.
The missile is being developed by Lockheed Martin under a $ 480 million contract with the Pentagon and, according to the US military, could be put into service as early as 2022.The AGM-183A hypersonic missile has a speed of Mach 6.5 to Mach 8. The missiles of this type are planned primarily to equip strategic bombers B-52H, each of which will be able to carry four AGM-183A.