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USAF delays ARRW production decision, eyes revamped test plan

An artist's rendering of the AGM-183A Air-Launched Rapid Response Weapon. The US Air Force has decided to delay making a production decision after a trio of failed booster flight tests in 2021. (Lockheed Martin )

US Air Force (USAF) leaders are postponing making an AGM-183A Air-Launched Rapid Response Weapon (ARRW) production decision following three failed booster flight tests with the hypersonic weapon prototype in 2021, the service told Janes .

“The ARRW procurement plan has not changed from the fiscal year (FY) 2022 president's budget request. However, the production contract award has been delayed as the team resolves the current launch abort,” a USAF spokesperson wrote in a 19 January statement. “The production decision remains event-driven and will occur after operational utility is demonstrated with a successful all-up-round test flight and a successful production readiness review.”

Service leaders had planned to ink a deal with Lockheed Martin in anticipation of beginning ARRW production by the end of FY 2022 but this is on hold while the duo work to achieve booster test flight objectives. Once that is completed, the first ARRW end-to-end flight test, also called the ‘all-up-round test flight', will occur between late June and late September.

“The production readiness review evaluates the ability of the suppliers to manufacture and integrate hardware for delivery, and is already under way,” the spokesperson said, noting that Congress must also pass an FY 2022 spending bill that includes ARRW production dollars.

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