The AGM-183A hypersonic missile developed by the U.S. Air Force and Lockheed Martin failed three test launches last year. More testing means the missile has a very low chance of entering service next year.
The AGM-183A Air-launched Rapid Response Weapon (ARRW) is a hypersonic missile jointly developed by the U.S. Air Force and Lockheed Martin in 2018. It adopts a gliding projectile design.
The ARRW is expected to have a range of 1,600 kilometers, a maximum speed of more than Mach 20 per hour, and can be mounted on bombers and fighter-bombers such as the B-1B, B-52H and F-15E.
However, unlike the Common Glide Body (C-HGB) jointly developed by the Army and Navy, the ARRW body was directly tested in combination with the launcher during development. C-HGB is a more robust separation of the glide body from the propellant rocket. Therefore, the technical challenges facing ARRW are relatively complex.
Because of the failure of three test launches in May, July and December last year, the plan to purchase the first 12 ARRWs at $161 million this year cannot be implemented. Therefore, in next year’s budget, the US Air Force only allocates 46.6 million US dollars are used for R&D expenses.
Although Deputy Secretary of the Air Force Gina Ortiz Jones pointed out in response to the media interview that the Air Force will continue with the ARRW and the Scramjet-based Hypersonic Attack Cruise Missile (Hypersonic Attack Cruise Missile) two programs, but the Air Force Secretary Kendall (Frank Kendall) has recently expressed doubts about the ARRW program.
Compared with the relatively smooth development of the Army and Navy C-HGB program, the Air Force ARRW is bound to have a successful test launch this year in order to avoid the entire weapons program from being aborted.