USAF Investigates Hypersonic Test Mishap after B-52 inadvertently dropped scramjet-powered missile

The USAF Won’t Purchase Hypersonic Missiles in 2024

By Dario Leone
Mar 22 2023
Share this article

Instead, the USAF continues to focus on research and development of the Air-Launched Rapid Response Weapon, which features a boost-glide hypersonic vehicle.

The US Air Force (USAF) has confirmed that hypersonic missiles will not be bought in fiscal 2024. Instead, the USAF continues to focus on research and development of the Air-Launched Rapid Response Weapon (ARRW), which features a boost-glide hypersonic vehicle. The budget request for the upcoming fiscal year includes $150 million allocated to ARRW R&D.

According to Alert 5, aside from the ARRW, the request also includes $380 million for R&D on the Hypersonic Attack Cruise Missile (HACM), which is a scramjet-powered hypersonic weapon. In December 2021, Raytheon Technologies was awarded a $985 million contract to continue its HACM development.

According to Maj. Gen. Mike Greiner, the Air Force’s Deputy Assistant Secretary for Budget, discussions will also include a mix of weapons, as both ARRW and HACM are tailored to different types of platforms. The service will analyze the results of the tests and decide on the appropriate mix of hypersonic weapons for the USAF.

As reported by Defense One, hypersonic weapons can fly five times faster than the speed of sound and are highly maneuverable. The Pentagon wants to accelerate its production of these weapons because China and Russia are aggressively pursuing similar systems. Earlier this month, Russia hit Ukraine with hypersonic cruise missiles that Kyiv said it cannot intercept.

B-52H print
This print is available in multiple sizes from – CLICK HERE TO GET YOURS. B-52H Stratofortress 2nd BW, 20th BS, LA/60-0008 “Lucky Lady IV”.

After program delays and three failed tests in 2021, the ARRW program notched two successful tests last year, clearing the way for all-up-round testing.

On Apr. 5, 2021 its first booster vehicle flight test encountered an issue on the aircraft and did not launch. A B-52H Stratofortress took off over the Point Mugu Sea Range intending to fire the first booster test vehicle for the AGM-183A ARRW program. Instead, the test missile was not able to complete its launch sequence and was safely retained on the aircraft which returned here. Then on Jul. 28 after the missile cleanly separated from the B-52H aircraft, it failed to fire its booster and once again did not separate from the plane in December.

The ARRW was successfully released by a B-52H Stratofortress strategic bomber for the first time on May 14, 2022 and a second successful test was conducted on Jul. 12.

The service plans four ARRW all-up-round flight tests in 2024, Greiner said.

Photo credit: Christopher Okula / U.S. Air Force

B-52 Model
This model is available from AirModels – CLICK HERE TO GET YOURS.

Share this article

Dario Leone

Dario Leone

Dario Leone is an aviation, defense and military writer. He is the Founder and Editor of “The Aviation Geek Club” one of the world’s most read military aviation blogs. His writing has appeared in The National Interest and other news media. He has reported from Europe and flown Super Puma and Cougar helicopters with the Swiss Air Force.

Leave a comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Share this article

Share this article
Share this article

Always up to date! News and offers delivered directly to you!

Get the best aviation news, stories and features from The Aviation Geek Club in our newsletter, delivered straight to your inbox.

Error: Contact form not found.

Share this article
Back to top
My Agile Privacy
This website uses technical and profiling cookies. Clicking on "Accept" authorises all profiling cookies. Clicking on "Refuse" or the X will refuse all profiling cookies. By clicking on "Customise" you can select which profiling cookies to activate. In addition, this site installs Google Analytics in version 4 (GA4) with anonymous data transmission via proxy. By giving your consent, the data will be sent anonymously, thus protecting your privacy. We and our selected ad partners can store and/or access information on your device, such as cookies, unique identifiers, browsing data. You can always choose the specific purposes related to profiling by accessing the advertising preferences panel, and you can always withdraw your consent at any time by clicking on "Manage consent" at the bottom of the page.

List of some possible advertising permissions:

You can consult: our list of advertising partners, the Cookie Policy and the Privacy Policy.
Warning: some page functionalities could not work due to your privacy choices