The Department of Defense announced on Thursday that the first test of the Army’s hypersonic weapon, dubbed the Advanced Hypersonic Weapon, was a success.
The hypersonic rocket blasted off from Pentagon’s Pacific Missile Range Facility in Kauai, Hawaii on Thursday and successfully reached its target Kwajalein Atoll, some 2,500 miles away, in just about half an hour.
The Department of Defense describes the hypersonic weapon as a “first-of-its-kind glide vehicle”. A three-stage booster system propels the Advanced Hypersonic Weapon far up into the atmosphere, where it achieves speeds of over five times the speed of sound.
This wasn’t the first time the military tested a weapon of this nature, but it is the first successful one. Over the past year, DARPA attempted to test out their own hypersonic weapon, the Falcon Hypersonic Technology Vehicle 2, on two separate occasions. Both failed.
The report from the Department of Defense didn’t say exactly how fast the AHW is, but the FHTV 2 boasted speeds of Mach 20, or about 13,000-mph, according to DARPA.
The Falcon Hypersonic Technology Vehicle 2 may have been a disappointment for the military, but the Advanced Hypersonic Weapon marks a step forward in the military’s “Conventional Prompt Global Strike” initiative, which aims to develop the capabilities to strike at any point on the Earth as quickly as possible.
The Department of Defense notes that at least part of the successful test of the Advanced Hypersonic Vehicle is in no small part due to the lessons learned by DARPA’s failed attempts with the Falcon Hypersonic Technology Vehicle 2.
Source: Department of Defense
[Image: The Falcon Hypersonic Technology Vehicle 2]