ARRW Undergoes Captive Carry Test on B-52
Lockheed Martin’s AGM-183A Air-Launched Rapid Response Weapon (ARRW) was successfully flight tested on a B-52H in collaboration with the USAF on 8 August, the company announced on 10 August.
The ‘captive carry’ test (i.e. the weapon was not released from the launch platform) was conducted with tactical hardware and fully instrumented, in order to collect thermal, mechanical and digital data from the flight vehicle. This is the first time a tactical ARRW missile has been assembled. Additional ground and flight testing will follow over the next two years.
Observing this was a significant milestone for the programme, Dave Berganini, ARRW Program Director at Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control, commented “This captive carry mission is the precursor for our first booster test flight, planned for [the] early 2020s.”
Hypersonic weapons provide rapid response, time critical capability that will overcome distance using high speed, altitude and manoeuvrability. An operational hypersonic air-launched weapon enables the US to hold fixed, high value, time-sensitive targets at risk in contested environments from stand-off distances.
The ARRW programme is a rapid prototyping project aimed at delivering a conventional hypersonic weapons capability to the USAF in the early 2020s. It is designed to provide combatant commanders with the capability to destroy high-value, time-sensitive targets and will expand precision-strike weapon system capabilities by enabling rapid response strikes against heavily defended land targets.
“This is a major milestone for the program, the team and our Air Force,” said Brig Gen Heath Collins, Air Force Program Executive Officer for Weapons, in an 8 August USAF press release. “ARRW is the first step in bringing game-changing hypersonic capabilities to our warfighters.”
ARRW programme development began with the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency’s (DARPA) Tactical Boost Glide demonstration system, which will be integrated into the ARRW payload. It has successfully completed two prior captive-carry tests.
Lockheed Martin has played a significant role in the research, development and demonstration of hypersonic technologies for over 30 years and has made significant investments in key technology and capability development. The result is deep expertise in the engineering of hypersonic systems and associated challenges through work with manoeuvring re-entry vehicles, air-breathing engine design, avionics and aero/thermal flight sciences.