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France test-fires first hypersonic demonstrator

The DGA on 26 June launched a test rocket carrying the VMaX hypersonic glide vehicle demonstrator. (DGA)

France test-fired its hypersonic demonstrator vehicle for the first time on 26 June, the Directorate General of Armaments (DGA) announced.

The VMaX hypersonic glide vehicle (HGV) demonstrator was launched from a ground-based rocket at the Biscarosse test facility on the southern French Atlantic coast.

β€œThis first demonstrator contained many onboard technological innovations. Its flight test, on a very demanding long-range trajectory, was an unprecedented technical challenge that paves the way for the future of our national hypervelocity road map,” the DGA said.

According to the DGA, technical analyses of the data recovered from the test are under way to draw lessons for the continuation of the experimental flights.

While technical details pertaining to the VMaX have not been released, it is understood to fly at Mach 5, which is the gateway speed for hypersonic capability. News of the test was disclosed shortly after imagery was posted online showing irregular contrails high in the sky over the test site.

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