AGM-183A launch phase one: rocket propulsion out of the atmosphere.

(Extracted from Lockheed Martin's official website)

[Compiled Chen Chengliang/Comprehensive Report] The U.S. Air Force used the B-52H bomber to complete the AGM-183A "Air-Launched Rapid Response Weapon" (ARRW) prototype bomb test for the first time recently. It is rumored that its target will reach 20 times the speed of sound, surpassing China and Russia Active hypersonic weapons.

The so-called hypersonic weapons generally refer to missiles or gliding bodies with flying speeds exceeding Mach 5 (5 times the speed of sound), and must have irregular flight capabilities, which are different from traditional ballistic missiles with fixed or limited orbital change attack modes.

AGM-183A is a hypersonic missile jointly developed by the U.S. Air Force and the military giant Lockheed Martin (Lockheed Martin for short) in 2018. It adopts a gliding body design and is also the first hypersonic missile developed by the U.S. military arms.

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ARRW is expected to have a range of up to 1,600 kilometers and a maximum speed of more than Mach 20 per hour. It can be mounted and launched by bombers and fighter bombers such as B-1B, B-52H and F-15E.

Hypersonic missiles are divided into two types, one is Hypersonic Cruise Missile (HCM) and the other is Hypersonic Glide Vehicle (HGV).

The difference between the two is that HCM is launched from the ground, a ship or an aircraft, and is powered by a booster rocket or a supersonic combustion ramjet engine, while HGV first ejects the projectile out of the atmosphere and releases the projectile after reentry. The potential energy of the projectile returning to the earth and sinking into the ground is converted into kinetic energy to achieve hypersonic flight speed and hit the target.

AGM-183A is launched from an aircraft, but it is in the form of the aforementioned HGV. It uses a booster gliding system, that is, after being launched from a bomber, it is boosted by a rear booster rocket into space and accelerated to hypersonic speed (design goal 20 times the speed of sound, that is, 25,400 km/h), and then release the warhead, that is, the tactical propulsion glide body (TBG), glides to the target at hypersonic speed.

Brigadier General Jason Bartolomei, director of the Weapons Acquisition Department of the U.S. Air Force Supply Command and the project host, said that the project team will complete the tasks of ARRW at all stages from design to testing within 5 years, which is a great contribution to the U.S. military. Made important contributions to the development of sonic weapons.

According to the military news website "Breaking Defense", ARRW manufacturer Lockheed Martin is expected to start production in 2024 at the earliest.

AGM-183A launch phase two: release the warhead (tactical propulsion glide body) outside the atmosphere.

(Extracted from Lockheed Martin's official website)

The third stage of AGM-183A launch: the warhead glides to the target at high speed with a water-floating ballistic trajectory.

(Extracted from Lockheed Martin's official website)