The United States Air Force completed its final "captive-carry test" of its first ever hypersonic weapon. The Lockheed Martin AGM-183A Air-launched Rapid Response Weapon (ARRW) will be able to travel at five times the speed of sound.
A B-52H conducted the successful test on Saturday at Edwards Air Force Base in California.
"This is a major milestone for the program, the team and our Air Force," Brig. Gen. Heath Collins, Air Force Program Executive Officer for Weapons, said in a statement. "ARRW is the first step in bringing game-changing hypersonic capabilities to our Warfighters."
The ARRW initiative is an expedited program aiming to have a weapon operational halfway through the decade. If successful, it would give the United States the ability to destroy targets at what Lt. Col Michael Jungquist calls "eye-watering speed," as well as increased range and precision.
"The event this week demonstrated the ability to communicate with the prototype weapon; the entire team is excited to take the next step and begin energetic flight test of our first air-launched hypersonic weapons," Jungquist said.
The Air Force will continue ground and flight testing through 2021.