US Air Force’s First Hypersonic Weapon All Set to Be Deployed On B-52H Bomber

By: | December 13th, 2022

The ARRW will be carried by B-52 bomber once complete. ( (Image Source: Wikimedia Commons)

The US Air Force (USAF) has taken the first steps toward implementing its first air-launched hypersonic boost-glide vehicle, known as the Air-Launched Rapid Response Weapon (ARRW).

A USAF team recently validated the loading procedures of B-52’s newest weapon at the Barksdale Air Force Base (AFB) in Louisiana, US.

ARRW is very close to becoming operational

Air Force’s first Air-Launched Rapid Response Weapon, or ARRW will become a reality as early as fall 2023 when it is ready for deployment. ARRW is slated to start live-fire testing before the end of this year.

The process of making this hypersonic weapon was expedited amid growing concerns around China testing and deploying its hypersonic weapons.

The ARRW exceeds five times the speed of sound

The hypersonic air-to-ground missile is launched from a rocket booster and then glides to its target at hypersonic speeds. The AARW will be capable of traveling at average speeds of between Mach 6.5 and Mach 8 with a range of approximately 1,000 miles. At this speed, it will take only 10 minutes to strike targets 1,000 miles (1,600km) away.

The US Air Force is developing this hypersonic missile with Lockheed Martin. The U.S. Air Force granted Lockheed Martin a $480 million contract in August 2018 to develop an air-launched hypersonic weapon.

Nidhi Goyal

Nidhi is a gold medalist Post Graduate in Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences.

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