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US successfully tests hypersonic missile

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Hypersonic missiles are designed to travel at speeds breaching Mach 5 (five times the speed of sound or about 3,850mph) in the upper atmosphere.

The US says its air force has successfully tested a hypersonic missile, as America seeks to keep pace with China and Russia.

Hypersonic missiles are designed to travel at speeds breaching Mach 5 (five times the speed of sound or about 3,850mph) in the upper atmosphere.

The US military tested a Lockheed Martin hypersonic missile, called an Air-Launched Rapid Response Weapon (ARRW) booster, off the coast of California this week, sources say.

It comes a few months after Russia claimed to have unleashed its latest hypersonic missile on Ukraine for the first time.

The ARRW is carried aloft under the wing of a plane before it is launched towards its target.

In previous US tests, the weapon did not detach from the aircraft.

American efforts to develop hypersonic weapons have been hampered by failed tests and growing questions about costs.

There are also increasing concerns the US is falling behind Russia and China in what has become a superpower arms race.

In a separate and also successful hypersonic weapon test, America’s Defence Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) has demonstrated its Operational Fires programme, according to two people familiar with the matter.

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Russian President Vladimir Putin addresses a plenary session of the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum in St.Petersburg, Russia, Friday, June 17, 2022. (Sergei Bobylev/TASS Host Photo Agency Pool via AP)

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Operational Fire is a ground-launched system that will “rapidly and precisely engage critical, time-sensitive targets while penetrating modern enemy air defences”.

One of Lockheed Martin’s concepts for the DARPA weapon is to use an exiting High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS) launcher, like those sent to Ukraine, to fire the weapon.

These successful tests come after a failed test flight on 29 June of a different type of hypersonic weapon, the Common Hypersonic Glide Body, at the Pacific Missile Range Facility in Hawaii.

About Charles Igbinidu

Charles Igbinidu is a Public Relations practitioner in Lagos, Nigeria

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