While Russia launched hypersonic air-to-ground missiles during the invasion of Ukraine and China flew a hypersonic weapon around the world late last year, the US continues to fall behind the hypersonic curve as a new round of delays were announced by the US Air Force (USAF), according to Bloomberg.
The AGM-183 Air-Launched Rapid Response Weapon (ARRW) was expected to be declared "early operational capability" by Sept. 30. However, according to a USAF statement, those timelines have been pushed back to the next fiscal year.
ARRW, expected to be the Pentagon's first hypersonic weapon, suffered three consecutive failed tests last year. ARRW's latest hurdle was two upcoming ground-based booster motor tests by June 30. But, it appears "due to recent flight test anomalies," the missile test would be shifted out to as late as December with additional tests planned next fiscal year, according to the USAF statement.
"The ARRW production decision remains event-driven and will occur after operational utility is demonstrated through successful system end-to-end flight tests," the service continued.
Lockheed-Martin's ability to manufacture and deliver the new weapon appears to be a 2023 story. Western countries have yet to field a hypersonic weapon while the old world order crumbles as a multipolar world emerges, pushing Russia and China closer together.
Perhaps that's why President Biden is set to unveil a new trilateral security hypersonic pact with the UK and Australia to advance the development of hypersonic weapons.
On Wednesday, Republican Rep. Mike Rogers of Alabama sounded the alarm at the House Armed Services Committee hearing that China has "more troops, ships, and hypersonic missiles than the United States." Republican Rep. Michael Turner of Ohio said the US needs to increase its hypersonic development.