US tests Lockheed Martin hypersonic missiles
US arms manufacturer Lockheed Martin has conducted a successful hypersonic missile test in a change from the latest period that saw various tests failing and draining US taxpayers' money.
The United States, in light of mounting concerns that China and Russia have had more success manufacturing and developing their own homemade hypersonic weapons, announced Wednesday that Washington recently successfully launched two Lockheed Martin hypersonic missiles.
The Air-Launched Rapid Response Weapon (ARRW) booster was successfully tested on Tuesday off the coast of California, the US Air Force said.
"This second successful test demonstrates ARRW's ability to reach and withstand operational hypersonic speeds, collect crucial data for use in further flight tests, and validate safe separation from the aircraft," Lockheed Martin said in a statement.
"We have now completed our booster test series and are ready to move forward to all-up-round testing later this year," said Air Force Brigadier General Heath Collins, program executive officer, Armament Directorate.
The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) revealed that it successfully performed the first test of its Operational Fires hypersonic weapon.
The latest time period has seen the US conduct successful hypersonic weapons tests in a change from its usual failures, raising questions about cost and increasing concerns that Washington has been failing in what is now dubbed a superpower arms race.
Operational Fires is a ground-launched system that will "rapidly and precisely engage critical, time-sensitive targets while penetrating modern enemy air defenses."
A DAPRA concept drawn up by Lockheed Martin depicts using an existing High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS) launcher, like those the US has been supplying Ukraine with, to launch the weapon.
Defense contractors hope to capitalize on the shift to hypersonic weapons by building them and developing new detection and defeat mechanisms.
Lockheed Martin handed over its first operational Multiple Rocket Launch System (MLRS) to the US Army, the company announced Tuesday in a press release.
According to Lockheed Martin, it seeks to upgrade the launcher with an enhanced 600 horsepower engine, an improved armored cab, and Common Fire Control System, the release read. The upgrade would provide compatibility with any munitions made in the future, such as the Extended-Range GMLRS and the Precision Strike Missile (PrSM).
Arms manufacturers like Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, and Raytheon Technologies have all touted their hypersonic weapons programs to investors in a bid to further benefit from wars and the shift to the new arms race taken to in light of surging tensions around the globe.
M270 MLRSs are among the weapons handed out to Kiev as part of the influx of western arms to the country in light of the Ukraine war. However, Ukraine has been found to be selling weapons it acquired from the West on the black market due to the Kiev forces' limited ability to use them because of their lack of training, logistical challenges, and the diminishing size of the Ukrainian armed forces, as per former Pentagon adviser Karen Kwiatkowski.
Just two weeks ago, the White House announced that the United States was sending a new batch of military supplies to Ukraine. The new batch of arms supply is worth $450 million in shipments.
Earlier that day, Ukraine received a batch of HIMARS, weapons set on top of the Ukrainian wishlist, and the Ukrainian Minister of Defense Oleksiy Reznikov thanked, via his Twitter account, his "colleague and friend Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III for these powerful tools!"
Though the United States has been taking care of providing training for the Ukrainian soldiers when it comes to arms they are not accustomed to, Kiev is still selling its arms to the black market due to "inexperience".
Even the HIMARS are likely to be sold, according to the former defense official, Pentagon policy chief Colin Kahl said Kiev's forces recently completed training on HIMARS delivered to Ukraine by Washington and London.