B-52H with ARRW
A B-52H carrying an ARRW hypersonic missile takes off from Edwards Air Force Base. Air Force photo

The U.S. Air Force announced Monday it conducted a successful test of a hypersonic missile off the coast of Southern California.

The test was conducted on Saturday when a B-52H bomber from Edwards Air Force Base released an AGM-183A Air-launched Rapid Response Weapon, known as ARRW, the Air Force said in a statement.

“Following separation from the aircraft, the ARRW’s booster ignited and burned for expected duration, achieving hypersonic speeds five times greater than the speed of sound,” it said.

The successful test of the Lockheed Martin-built weapons follows a string of three failures.

ARRW is designed to attack high-value, time-sensitive targets from stand-off distances.

“Our highly-skilled team made history on this first air-launched hypersonic weapon. We’re doing everything we can to get this game-changing weapon to the warfighter as soon as possible,” said Lt. Col. Michael Jungquist, commander of the 419th Flight Test Squadron.

The rocked-powered missile flies at hypersonic speeds and then glides to its target. A second type of hypersonic weapon under development, the Hypersonic Attack Cruise Missile, uses an advanced jet engine to fly and maneuver at hypersonic speed.

The United States is not alone in developing hypersonic weapons, whose speed and maneuverability make them difficult to track and intercept.

Russia has fired hypersonic missiles at targets in Ukraine and China has tested hypersonic weapons, U.S. military officials have said.

Reuters contributed to this article.

Chris Jennewein

Chris Jennewein is Editor & Publisher of Times of San Diego.