published : 2023-09-07

US Army Scraps Another Test of Its Long-Range Hypersonic Weapon

Test launch called off at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida

A photo of soldiers from the US Army in uniform during a military exercise, taken with a Nikon D850.

The U.S. Army has encountered another setback in the development of its Long-Range Hypersonic Weapon (LRHW) as a test launch was scrapped at the Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida.

According to The War Zone, the LRHW was scheduled for a test launch this week, following a previous cancellation in March.

A spokesperson from the Department of Defense stated that the test did not occur due to pre-flight checks.

However, the ground hardware and software performance data were successfully collected, which will contribute to the continued progress of offensive hypersonic weapon technology.

Delivering hypersonic weapons remains a top priority for the Department.

An image of the Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida, where the test launch of the Long-Range Hypersonic Weapon was planned, taken with a Canon EOS R5.

The LRHW, developed in coordination with the U.S. Navy, is a ground-launched missile equipped with a hypersonic glide body and associated support equipment.

With an estimated range of 1,725 miles, it is armed with hypersonic missiles capable of traveling over 3,800 miles per hour.

These missiles possess the ability to reach the Earth's atmosphere and remain out of range of air and missile defense systems until they strike, rendering reaction futile.

It is a formidable system poised to significantly bolster the U.S. military's offensive capabilities.

The Department of Defense's recent statement regarding the test launch cancellation echoed the one released in March when the decision was made to scrap the initial test launch.

A photo of a hypersonic missile being launched during a previous test, showcasing the power and speed of the weapon, taken with a Sony Alpha a7R IV.

At a Congressional hearing, Navy Vice Adm. Johnny Wolfe revealed that the battery did not activate, resulting in the test not taking place.

An aggressive investigation is underway to identify and rectify the cause of the issue, ensuring the development and subsequent testing can proceed.

The Army aims to introduce operational LRHWs by the year's end, with plans for the Navy to deploy the same missiles on its Zumwalt-class stealth destroyers and Block V Virginia-class submarines.

As the LRHW project encounters setbacks, the military is committed to overcoming these challenges to enhance its technological edge.

The development and deployment of hypersonic weapons hold immense strategic significance and will shape the future of warfare.