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US Army unlikely to meet end-of-year hypersonic goal

While the US Army's hypersonic weapon programme is delayed, the service's Mid-Range Capability is on track for operational capability. (US Army)

It is predicted that the US Army will not be able to field its hypersonic weapon by the end of the calendar year as planned after a critical test was cancelled before launch.

Similar to the cancelled tests in September and March 2023, the “problem” was identified before the launch schedule to take place from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station, Florida. Doug Bush, US Army assistant secretary for acquisition, logistics, and technology, declined to provide details about the error, citing classification issues.

“The department was able to successfully collect data on the performance of the ground hardware and software that will inform the continued progress towards fielding offensive hypersonic weapons,” the army told Janes in a 2 November statement.

The army had initially planned to have its Long-Range Hypersonic Weapon (LRHW) in the hands of soldiers by the end of the fiscal year. That was pushed back to the end of the calendar after the cancelled test in September. At the time, Bush told reporters that the cancelled launch was one of two tests critical to the army's success.

“It definitely will make it very difficult to achieve our end-of-the-year goal, very unlikely we'll achieve that goal,” Bush said.

Despite the schedule setbacks, the Department of Defense (DoD) is still committed to the programme, he added. “We'll get the LRHW, but it's going to take more time, unfortunately.”

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