The US Army will have a first hypersonic capability from the end of 2023

The entry into service in 2018 of the Russian Kinzhal hypersonic airborne missile had the effect of a cold shower across the Atlantic, while the Pentagon had been accustomed to positioning itself at the top of the defense technological pyramid since the end of the 80s. Suddenly, Russia, a country perceived as defeated in the Cold War, with a GDP barely greater than that of Spain, was not only equipping itself with technology that the US armies did not have, but which they did not have. could, in the state, protect themselves. The reaction of pride from Washington and the Pentagon was on the scale of the sudden affront, since as early as 2019, no less than 6 hypersonic missile programs were launched by the American armies, depending on whether they were rocket-powered or powered by a scramjet, airborne or launched from a land or sea container, intended to target land or sea targets.

While over the last 25 years, a majority of American defense programs have been marked by bitter failures (replacement of the Bradley, RAH-66 Comanche helicopter, etc.), by programs with exorbitant costs (F-35, Sea submarines, etc.).wolf) and technological impasses (Zumwalt destroyers, LCS corvettes), all generating monumental additional costs without allowing the armies to effectively undertake their modernization, it took barely more than 5 years to give substance to several of these hypersonic programs, such as the HAWC (Hypersonic Air-Breathing Weapon Concept) airborne hypersonic missile developed by DARPA for the US Air Force, which recorded several successful tests in 2022, or like the AGM-183A ARRW program for Air-launched Rapidly Respons Weapon developed by the Air Force and Lockheed-Martin which, after several failures, arrived in December 2022 completed a full hypersonic flight sequence.

B52H AGM183A ARRW Defense Analysis | Hypersonic Weapons and Missiles | Artillery
The AGM-183A ARRW missile was successfully tested in early December 2022 by the US Air Force

As for the Long-Range Hypersonic Weapon program, jointly developed by the US Army and the US Navy, it also recorded, in June 2022, a success during the tests, and must still complete two test flights in 2023 before equipping, by the end of the year, a first US Army unit. This system, which consists of a hypersonic rocket engine-type thruster developed by the US Navy, and a hypersonic glider developed by the US Army, has so far passed separate tests of its two components, and must now demonstrate its ability to evolve efficiently and in a controlled manner in its entirety before joining its first operational deployment. It will be implemented from specific land containers, as well as by specially sized vertical launching systems or containers on board American ships, the Zumwalt class destroyers being the first buildings to be equipped with this type of ammunition. in 2024.


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