Aviation Finance Info

Looking to purchase or refinance a business jet Visit Now

Guam Hosts Hypersonic Weapon Training With Live ARRW Missile

Share This Post

Share on facebook
Share on linkedin
Share on twitter
Share on email

Follow Us


ARRW
B-52 Stratofortress crews from the 23rd Expeditionary Bomb Squadron, Minot Air Force Base, North Dakota and the 49th Test and Evaluation Squadron, Barksdale Air Force Base, Louisiana, participated in hypersonic weapon familiarization training at Andersen Air Force Base, Guam, Feb. 27, 2024. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Pedro Tenorio)

A live AGM-183 Air-launched Rapid Response Weapon was photographed on a B-52H currently stationed at Andersen AFB for a Bomber Task Force deployment.

The U.S. Air Force just published some really interesting photos from Guam, showing a live (yellow-band) AGM-183 Air-launched Rapid Response Weapon under the wing of a B-52H which is currently deployed to Andersen Air Force Base for a Bomber Task Force. The photos, according to the press statement, were shot on Feb. 27, 2024, as B-52 crews from the 23rd Expeditionary Bomb Squadron and 49th Test and Evaluation Squadron participated in hypersonic weapon familiarization training.

The participating crews received expert academics and training on hypersonic fundamentals and participated in tactical discussion on hypersonic operations to increase operational readiness and prepare multiple Air Force aircraft communities for hypersonics including the Hypersonic Attack Cruise Missile, Air-launched Rapid Response Weapon, and other programs under development. The crews focused on the fundamentals of hypersonics, operational and logistics considerations, and in-depth tactical discussions.

The photos are particularly significative as Guam is located in a strategic position in the Indo-Pacific region and, to our knowledge, this is the first time a US hypersonic weapon is seen this close to China. The reason for the AGM-183’s presence in Guam is unknown at this time, as the ARRW program is now defunct, and we don’t know if a Hypersonic Attack Cruise Missile was also present, as both missiles were shown to crews in a similar event at Edwards AFB last year.

The US hypersonic technology is considered behind China’s, however the Department of Defense is working to rapidly field operational hypersonic systems. Many programs are being pursued by Air Force, Navy and Army, although they suffered numerous setbacks.

The AGM-183 ARRW, for an instance, is being abandoned by the Air Force after multiple failures that prompted the service to not pursue follow-on procurement of ARRW once the prototyping program concludes, instead focusing on the Hypersonic Attack Cruise Missile. Although the program will be interrupted, the Air Force says there is an inherent benefit to completing the all-up round test flights to garner the learning and test data that will help inform future hypersonic programs.

B-52 Stratofortress crews from the 23rd Expeditionary Bomb Squadron, Minot Air Force Base, North Dakota and the 49th Test and Evaluation Squadron, Barksdale Air Force Base, Louisiana, participated in hypersonic weapon familiarization training at Andersen Air Force Base, Guam, Feb. 27, 2024. Hypersonics is an attribute being pursued for advanced munitions. The Department of Defense is developing hypersonic science and technology to ensure the U.S. can rapidly transition operational hypersonic systems. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Pedro Tenorio)

The AGM-183A ARRW is based on hypersonic glide vehicle technology derived from the Air Force and Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) Science and Technology (S&T) Demonstration known as Tactical Boost Glide (TBG). A fragmenting glide vehicle is launched from a conventional rocket, or more precisely a Solid-Rocket Motor (SRM) booster, to the upper atmosphere and, once it reaches hypersonic speeds, it separates from the rocket and glides to its target at speeds up to Mach 15. At these speeds, there is no need for a conventional explosive warhead as the kinetic energy alone delivered during impact would be enough to destroy most targets.

The Air Force also defined the ARRW as an “operational hypersonic air-launched weapon enabling the U.S. to hold fixed, high value, time-sensitive targets at risk in contested environments from standoff distances.” The missile would have provided a survivable, lethal, long-range strike capability to go after high-end capabilities of a potential adversary, such as deep-inland strike against targets of strategic importance and coastal strike against high-end systems. Initially, the expected introduction in service of the AGM-183 was planned for 2022.

Although the Air Force decided in April 2023 to not pursue the procurement of the weapon, the Director, Operational Test & Evaluation report mentions that in August the ARRW program completed an Integrated Master Test Plan and continued to develop an Operational Demonstration Plan for DOT&E approval. Having concluded a series of booster rocket flight tests in FY21–22, the program progressed into all-up round testing with live warheads in FY23, continuing with land impacts in FY24 for the last two AUR flight tests, instead of broad ocean areas like last year.

The report also mentions ARRW program has shown preliminary indications that it could become an operationally lethal weapon, however the lack of terminal characterization data to date, due to technical failure of the test range sensor systems in the December 2022 test and the shroud not ejecting in March 2023, does not yet allow for a full assessment. Preliminary info released from the August 2023 test’s data analysis say it achieved nominal conditions.

The report continues saying that, given the limited number of planned test events, there is a risk that the test program will not be able to demonstrate the ARRW lethal effects against the required tactical and strategic targets. The survivability assessment estimated the probability that a single ARRW will complete its mission, given the capabilities of various early warning radars, surface-to-air missile systems, and anti-aircraft artillery batteries to detect and engage ARRW in various one-on-one scenarios, indicating that it will meet its survivability requirements.

U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Jeffrey Komives, Hypersonic Employment subject matter expert, orients operational crews B-1 Lancer, B-2 Spirit, B-52 Stratofortress, and F-15E Strike Eagle units across Air Force Global Strike Command and Air Combat Command on the Air Force’s Hypersonic Attack Cruise Missile as they participate in hypersonic weapon familiarization training at Edwards Air Force Base, California, Sept. 28, 2023. The participating crews received expert academics and training on hypersonic fundamentals and participated in tactical discussion on hypersonic operations to increase operational readiness and prepare multiple aircraft communities for hypersonics including the Hypersonic Attack Cruise Missile, Air-launched Rapid Response Weapon, and other programs under development. The Department of Defense is developing hypersonic science and technology to ensure the U.S. can rapidly field operational hypersonic systems. (U.S. Air Force photo by Lindsey Iniguez)

The Hypersonic Attack Cruise Missile previously shown at Edwards AFB, appears to be based on the Hypersonic Airbreathing Weapon Concept design by Raytheon and Northrop Grumman whose testing was completed by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) last year, together with another design by Lockheed Martin and Aerojet Rocketdyne. Among the technologies of interest examined there are advanced air vehicle configurations capable of efficient hypersonic flight, hydrocarbon scramjet-powered propulsion to enable sustained hypersonic cruise, approaches to managing the thermal stresses of high-temperature cruise and affordable system designs and manufacturing approaches.

Stefano D’Urso is a freelance journalist and contributor to TheAviationist based in Lecce, Italy. A graduate in Industral Engineering he’s also studying to achieve a Master Degree in Aerospace Engineering. Electronic Warfare, Loitering Munitions and OSINT techniques applied to the world of military operations and current conflicts are among his areas of expertise.





Source link

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Subscribe To Our Newsletter

Get updates and learn from the best

More To Explore