The United States Air Force (USAF) has successfully tested the first prototype hypersonic missile.
Space.com he says:
The service's new AGM-183A Air-launched Rapid Response Weapon, or ARRW (“Arrow”), is expected to be the United States military's first hypersonic weapon to reach operational status.
The exact speed of the AGM-183A is not known, although the weapon is designed by Lockheed Martin and is said to be based on previous tests built by DARPA and has a claimed maximum speed of Mach 20 or 24.000 km/h.
The successful test of the ARRW was conducted Friday (Dec. 9) at a training area off the coast of California, according to a USAF statement released Monday (Dec. 12).
"This test was the first launch of a full prototype operational missile," officials said in the statement. “After the ARRW separated from the aircraft, it reached supersonic speeds five times the speed of sound, completed its flight path and exploded in the terminal area. Indications are that all objectives have been achieved.”
According to the U.S. Air Force, the missile is designed to “hit fixed, high-value, time-sensitive targets in contested environments,” meaning it will be used to target predetermined assets on the ground, such as fixed missile sites, stations radars, air defense installations, infrastructure installations or even enemy headquarters buildings – basically anything important on a battlefield that cannot be moved and must be destroyed quickly.