The US Army is arguably the best-equipped and most technologically advanced in the world. And the least we can say is that she won’t lose her leadership status. Proof of this is that the US Air Force will test a hypersonic weapon in the coming weeks if everything goes as planned.
It is a rocket that can fly at Mach 20, which is 20 times the speed of sound, which is about 24,000 km / h. According to our source, the gun will be air-fired from a B-52H bomber sometime in March this year.
A postponed test
The missile, named AGM-183A, is said to be the US military’s first hypersonic weapon (ARRW). However, as Space.com points out, this test has already been postponed. The missile landed on March 1 at Edwards Air Force Base, California for a scheduled launch on March 6. However, on March 5, officials announced that the trial would be postponed for the next 30 days without discussing the reasons for the decision.
A low altitude flight
Hypersonic missiles like the AGM-183A are usually deployed in two stages. First, a missile accelerates the weapon to many times the speed of sound at an altitude much lower than that at which ICBMs fly. This avoids being detected by speed cameras. Next, a glider is used to transport the explosive charge to the target. However, this type of flying at low altitude has significant limitations.
#NEWS: The US Air Force says it will be testing a bizarre hypersonic weapon this month: https://t.co/rJjsCX3eXD
📸US Air Force photo by Christopher Okula
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The closer you get to the ground, the more the air speed decreases, not to mention the physical obstacles to avoid. Therefore, at the same speed, ARRWs should take longer than ICBMs to reach a target that is at the same distance.
A concept that is not unanimous
When asked by our colleagues at Live Science, military analyst Pavel Podvig said that such weapons would be useless. “I think you don’t really need that type of ability,” he said, suggesting that the use of hypersonic weapons “doesn’t change that much in terms of ability to hit targets.”
The military is of the opinion that an ARRW could be useful for achieving “time sensitive” goals. Note that the United States isn’t the only country interested in hypersonic weapons. Vladimir Putin first announced a similar program in 2018.