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New Air Force Hypersonic Missile 1,000 Miles In Under 12 Minutes

The US Air Force is moving forward with a new hypersonic missile that it says can strike a target 1,000 miles away in under 12 minutes, reported Air Force Magazine (AFM). 

.…the hypersonic missile would need to fly between 5,000 and 6,000 mph, or roughly between Mach 6.5 and Mach 8, to strike a target at that distance. 

Air Force Major General Andrew Gebara, Air Force Global Strike Command’s Director of Strategic Plans, Programs, and Requirements, recently told AFM that Lockheed Martin’s AGM-183A air-launched rapid-response weapon, also known as ARRW, is “amazing.” 

“This thing is going to be able to go, in 10-12 minutes, almost 1,000 miles,” Gebara said in a September AFM interview. “It’s amazing.”

The hypersonic missile is powered by a solid-fuel rocket booster with an unpowered boost-glide vehicle. The rocket propels the hypersonic missile to hypersonic speeds. After that, the glide vehicle is released and continues to its target. The boost-glide vehicle can carry nuclear warheads and outmaneuver the world’s most advanced missile defense shields. 

ARRW is expected to reach operational capability in the second half of 2022, with possible fielding shortly after. The Air Force plans to purchase at least eight prototype ARRWs.

3 thoughts on “New Air Force Hypersonic Missile 1,000 Miles In Under 12 Minutes”

  1. These would be a game-changer in strategic terms.

    Right now, (so far as I know, and I’m certainly not privy to all the options available), the only way to get a strategic weapon over a target in a sub-15 minute involves a “depressed trajectory” shot of a ICBM from a SSBN. This means getting the boomer to within a couple hundred miles of a nation’s coast and lobbing the sea-launched missile into the target area.

    With this, a B-52 could stand off by a considerable distance and let one of these (or even more than one) rip, and the target country has only 10 to 20 minutes to respond – which isn’t enough time to do more than run around in a panic.

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    • Until somebody develops – and is willing to pay for – usefully deployable MW-class lasers and associated target tracking. (Or other near-speed-of-light weapons, but charged particle beams don’t fare well in atmosphere.)

      Reply

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