skip to main content

ARRW hypersonic weapon completes booster test programme

An artist's rendering of Lockheed Martin's AGM-183A Air-Launched Rapid Response Weapon (ARRW). The hypersonic weapon has completed 12 tests and will start all-up-round testing later in 2022. (Lockheed Martin)

The US Air Force (USAF) conducted another test flight of its Lockheed Martin AGM-183A Air-Launched Rapid Response Weapon (ARRW) booster on 12 July, completing the booster test programme. The service said on 13 July that it was “ready” to start all-up-round testing later in 2022.

ARRW was launched off a Boeing B-52H Stratofortress and “reached hypersonic speeds and primary and secondary objectives were met”, according to the air force. However, the USAF declined to provide Janes with additional information on what objectives were met.

Brigadier General Heath Collins, the air force's programme executive officer for weapons, said the test “demonstrated booster performance expanding the operational envelope”.

Tuesday's test off the coast of southern California was the twelfth for the ARRW programme and the third release demonstration. A test on 14 May 2022 was the first successful launch of the ARRW off a Boeing B-52H Stratofortress after it failed multiple flight tests in 2021. During the May test, the weapon flew five times greater than the speed of sound.

“This second successful test demonstrates ARRW's ability to reach and withstand operational hypersonic speeds, collect crucial data for use in further flight tests, and validate safe separation from the aircraft to deliver the glide body and warhead to designated targets from significant stand-off distances,” Lockheed Martin said.

The USAF is using rapid prototyping and performance data from the separate Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA)/USAF Tactical Boost Glide (TBG) programme in developing ARRW.

Lockheed Martin has said that it expects ARRW to reach early operational capability (EOC) in 2023.

Looking to read the full article?

Gain unlimited access to Janes news and more...