AGM-183 ARRW hypersonic missile flight test fails again after rocket motor did not ignite

USAF has finally succeeded in testing the AGM-183A ARRW Hypersonic Weapon

By Dario Leone
May 17 2022
Share this article

A USAF B-52H Stratofortress successfully released an AGM-183A Air-launched Rapid Response Weapon, or ARRW, off the Southern California coast, May 14.

A US Air Force (USAF) B-52H Stratofortress successfully released an AGM-183A Air-launched Rapid Response Weapon, or ARRW, off the Southern California coast, May 14.

According to a USAF news release, following separation from the aircraft, the ARRW’s booster ignited and burned for expected duration, achieving hypersonic speeds five times greater than the speed of sound.

“This was a major accomplishment by the ARRW team, for the weapons enterprise, and our Air Force,” said Brig. Gen. Heath Collins, Air Force Program Executive Officer for Weapons. “The team’s tenacity, expertise, and commitment were key in overcoming the past year’s challenges to get us to the recent success. We are ready to build on what we’ve learned and continue moving hypersonics forward.”

The 419th Flight Test Squadron and the Global Power Bomber Combined Test Force, or GPB CTF, both at Edwards Air Force Base, California, executed the test.

“The test team made sure we executed this test flawlessly,” said Lt. Col. Michael Jungquist, 419th FLTS commander and GPB CTF director. “Our highly-skilled team made history on this first air-launched hypersonic weapon. We’re doing everything we can to get this game-changing weapon to the warfighter as soon as possible.”

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

ARRW’s success comes after more than a year of setbacks for the program. The missile failed three booster flight tests in 2021.

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 program is a rapid prototyping project aimed at delivering a conventional hypersonic weapons capability to the warfighter in the early 2020s. The weapon system is designed to provide combatant commanders the capability to destroy high-value, time-sensitive targets (it is intended to travel 500 miles in just 10 minutes once fired from a B-52 bomber. That’s 3,000 mph, versus about 500 mph for a conventional weapon). It will also expand precision-strike weapon systems’ capabilities by enabling rapid response strikes against heavily defended land targets.

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.



    Share this article
    Back to top
    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.
    Warning: some page functionalities could not work due to your privacy choices