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USAF optimistic about hypersonic missile despite failed test

By
Zarrin Ahmed
A B-52H Stratofortress conducted a captive-carry flight test of the AGM-183A Air-launched Rapid Response Weapon on Aug. 8, 2020. Photo by Giancarlo Casem/U.S. Air Force
A B-52H Stratofortress conducted a captive-carry flight test of the AGM-183A Air-launched Rapid Response Weapon on Aug. 8, 2020. Photo by Giancarlo Casem/U.S. Air Force

Aug. 5 (UPI) -- Despite last week's failed hypersonic missile test, the U.S. Air Force remains hopeful that it will begin production of the new weapon by the end of fiscal year 2022, officials said.

The USAF is still investigating what went wrong during the test of the rocket propelling the AGM-183A Air-Launched Rapid Response Weapon. The rocket was successfully released but failed to ignite.

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The USAF needs to successfully complete flight testing of the ARRW booster before the service inks a contract with manufacturer Lockheed Martin, which is targeted for fiscal year 2022.

The USAF budget included $161 million to procure 12 AGM-183As, which will be the military's first hypersonic weapon.

The House Appropriations Committee's defense spending bill may reduce that funding by $44 million if all technical issues aren't addressed, thereby reducing the number of missiles to eight.

Program executive officer for weapons Heath Collins said during a press conference that the USAF is resolving technical problems. He cited the service's ability to find out what caused the first flight booster test to fail earlier this year.

"We're now going to learn from this next step and move forward," he said, according to Air Force Times.

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