The failure of the AGM-183A launch make the US Air Force’s step backward

  • During the test on April 5, the US Air Force failed when it launched the hypersonic missile AGM-183A from the B-52H aircraft.
  • The first flight test for US Air Force’s hypersonic booster didn’t go as planned

The test failed when the prototype of the hypersonic missile AGM-183A failed to detach from the mount on the B-52H. The Air Force said in a statement on April 6:

“The Air Force had a step back in progress with its supersonic missile program when the first test with a propulsion failed.

The B-52H bomber took off on April 5 to launch the prototype AGM-183A, but the test bullet could not complete the launch procedure and was safely hung on the plane until it reached the Edwards base ” .

The US Air Force has conducted 7 test flights with the missile model AGM-183A to collect positioning data and flight parameters, test the ability to integrate missiles onto the B-52H launch platform and build procedures. Operated for the first test shot. The flight test was to test the propulsion engine’s performance, as well as the detachability of the supersonic surfacing vehicle after the rocket engine stopped working. The warhead is designed to self-crumble shortly after being separated from the engine, helping to minimize the no-fly zone for ships and aircraft.

AGM-183ARRW missile onboard B-52H aircraft
AGM-183ARRW missile onboard B-52H aircraft

The AGM-183A hypersonic missile is also known as the “Aircraft Launched Rapid Reaction Weapon” (ARRW). This is one of the hypersonic missile programs being developed for the US Air Force to close this field’s gap with Russian opponents.

Especially according to the US Air Force’s statement, the AGM-183A possesses many advantages over the hypersonic missile Kinzhal of the Russian Air Force. The US side said that the parameters on Kinzhal of Russia are equivalent to the AGM-48 Skybolt (developed 60 years ago) of the US and far behind the current AGM-183A.

The AGM-183A is superior to the Kh-47M2 Kinzhal in that it does not require the launcher to climb to very high altitudes and maintain Mach 2 as the Kinzhal’s speed and still easily reach design specifications.

In particular, according to the US Department of Defense procurement advisor Will Roper, the AGM-183A has an impressive speed when it can reach a maximum of nearly Mach 20. It can be seen that the AGM-183A has a much faster speed than the Kinzhal when the Russian missile reaches just above Mach 10.

Although not yet launched, but with the aforementioned parameters, the AGM-183A deserves to be considered a rival of today’s hypersonic weapons.

But for the AGM-183A to enter service, it may take the Americans a long time. Meanwhile, Russia is ready to equip Kinzhal after successful trials of the weapon.

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