U.S. Hypersonic Missile: U.S. Secretly Tests Hypersonic Weapon
The U.S. secretly conducted a hypersonic missile test last month so it didn’t inflame tensions with Russia.
WASHINGTON — The U.S. Air Force tested Lockheed Martin’s Hypersonic Air-breathing Weapon Concept in March, but kept it secret to avoid increasing tensions with Russia.
A DARPA press release said the missile was initially accelerated up to high speeds by a booster stage.
It then engaged its air-breathing scramjet engine, which propelled it to a speed faster than Mach 5.
The hypersonic missile maintained that speed for an extended period of time, flying higher than 65,000 feet, and traveling more than 300 nautical miles.
Launched from a B-52H bomber, the missile can conduct short or no-notice strikes against time-sensitive and other critical targets.
As with other hypersonic missiles, it can maneuver within the atmosphere, meaning it can fly more unpredictably than ballistic missiles.
The initial secrecy around the launch comes in contrast to Russian claims of using hypersonic missiles against targets in Ukraine, but both gestures point toward a wider hypersonic arms race already ongoing.
On Tuesday, it was announced that the U.S. would work with Britain and Australia in developing nuclear-capable hypersonic weapons, according to The Guardian, and this is seen as a response to developments in the area by Russia and China.
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