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Falling Short: US Air Force’s Critical Test Failure of Hypersonic AGM-183A ARRW Missile on B-52H Stratofortress Nuclear-Powered Bomber

On 13 March 2023, the US Air Force carried out another trial of a hypersonic missile. It has been discovered that the trial resulted in a lack of success.


Here’s What We Know: The US Air Force is currently developing an air-to-ground missile capable of reaching speeds exceeding Mach 5 (6174km/h). This missile is known as the AGM-183A Air-launched Rapid Response Weapon (ARRW), and the completion of the project requires a funding request of $150 million.


A B-52H Stratofortress nuclear-powered bomber was utilized in the trial. In December 2022, the US Air Force conducted the inaugural test of an operational prototype hypersonic missile. The trial that took place on 13 March 2023 was the second instance in which an operational prototype was employed.


Initially, the US Air Force stated that several objectives had been achieved and announced that no further comments would be provided regarding the trial. However, a few days later, the service acknowledged the unsuccessful outcome of the second trial.


Frank Kendall, the spokesperson for the US Air Force, did not elaborate on the reasons behind the failure. He simply mentioned that the experts were unable to obtain the required data during the trial and are currently addressing the identified issues. Nevertheless, Kendall described the December trial as “highly successful” and a significant advancement.

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