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Three flight tests planned with US Common-Hypersonic Glide Body

The US Army and Navy plan to launch a series of three flight tests with the future Common-Hypersonic Glide Body (C-HGB) by the end of the year, in anticipation of fielding the weapon in 2023.

Bob Strider, the army's Rapid Capabilities and Critical Technologies Office's deputy director, participated at this year's annual Space and Missile Defense Symposium, and provided the audience with an update on the army's Long-Range Hypersonic Weapon programme that it is now calling ‘Dark Eagle'.

This effort is based, in part, around the joint effort with the navy to develop and field C-HGB – a weapon system that uses a booster rocket motor to accelerate above hypersonic speeds and then jettisons the expended rocket booster. Development includes a conventional warhead, guidance system, cabling, and thermal protection shield.

The navy is the C-HGB lead designer while the army manages production. However, each service is developing its own weapon system and launchers. For example, for the army this means modifying refurbished MH70 trailers and trucks into a new launcher, and using the existing command-and-control system: the Advanced Field Artillery Tactical Data System.

“The difference will be that the canister we shoot out of. The army does everything hot and the navy does what's called a ‘cold launch' where they eject out and then they light the booster,” Strider said.

The army has identified a unit that will initially receive the capability and plans to begin outfitting them with most Dark Eagle components to begin training with, he noted.

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