The last US military hypersonic test fails
A booster stack, which is the rocket used to accelerate the projectile to hypersonic speeds, failed and testing of the projectile, the hypersonic glide body, was unable to continue, the statement said.
Because the rocket failed, the Pentagon was unable to test the hypersonic glide body, which is the key component needed to develop a hypersonic weapon.
Authorities have begun a review of the test, which took place Thursday at the Pacific Spaceport Complex in Kodiak, Alaska, to understand the cause of the booster failure.
“Experiments and tests – both successful and unsuccessful – are the backbone of the development of very complex and critical technologies at tremendous speed, as the department does with hypersonic technologies,” said Lt. Cdr. Tim Gorman, a Pentagon spokesperson, in a statement.
The Pentagon has made the development of hypersonic weapons one of its top priorities, especially as China and Russia are working to develop their own versions. The failure is another blow to the United States’ efforts following a failed test in April and comes days after it was reported that China had successfully tested a hypersonic glide vehicle.
Traveling at Mach 5 or faster, hypersonic weapons are difficult to detect, posing a challenge to missile defense systems. Hypersonic missiles can travel at a much lower trajectory than high arc ballistic missiles, which can be easily detected. Hypersonics can also maneuver and evade missile defense systems.
Chinese and Russian test pass reports
Defense officials say they are particularly concerned about China’s development of hypersonic capabilities, as it could allow Beijing to launch an attack over the South Pole, bypassing US missile defenses, which are typically aimed at missiles. coming over the North Pole.
Nonetheless, the Pentagon insists it remains on track to deliver offensive hypersonic weapons in the early 2020s, a timeline that seems more urgent with advances in hypersonic technology presented by the Russians and Chinese.
“This flight test is part of an ongoing series of flight tests as we continue to develop this technology,” said Gorman.
The failed hypersonic glide body test came after the Navy and Army conducted a series of successful hypersonic measurement tests earlier this week underscoring the Pentagon’s priority to research and test quickly the weapon system. The three joint survey tests were designed to collect data and perform hypersonic experiments with DoD partners involved in the development of advanced weapons.
“These launches provide frequent and regular flight test opportunities to support the rapid maturation of offensive and defensive hypersonic technologies,” the Navy said in a test statement.
These tests, performed at NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility on the east coast of Virginia, provide data for the development of services hypersonic weapons, including the Navy’s conventional strike and long-range hypersonic weapon. of the Army.
The United States is focusing on conventional hypersonic weapons based on ships, land and air platforms.
In April, the Air Force’s hypersonic missile program suffered a setback when it failed to launch from a B-52. Instead, the AGM-183A Air Launcher Rapid Response Weapon (ARRW) remained on the aircraft.