Bowing to the obvious, the US Army acknowledged Thursday that it won’t meet a four-year-old goal to deploy a hypersonic weapon in the two remaining weeks of this month.
(Bloomberg) — Bowing to the obvious, the US Army acknowledged Thursday that it won’t meet a four-year-old goal to deploy a hypersonic weapon in the two remaining weeks of this month.
“It is not uncommon for fielding dates to adjust based on real-time developments,” the Army said in a statement Thursday to Bloomberg News. “We continue to aggressively pursue the testing and fielding of long-range hypersonic weapons. Our goal is to field the system as soon as possible following a successful test. It is a top modernization priority for the Army and for the Department of Defense.”
That makes this the second consecutive year that the Pentagon will miss an intended date to field its first operational hypersonic weapon, even as China and Russia already have the deployed the agile new weapons that can fly fast and low.
Last year, the Air Force missed a similar milestone: to declare operational by the end of fiscal 2022 a hypersonic missile to be launched from a B-52 bomber called the ARRW, because of a spotty test record. Three booster-test failures of a development-model ARRW derailed plans for the missile to go into production last year.
In June of this year, Army Secretary Christine Wormuth set down a marker, saying “we’re working very hard to schedule” a crucial “test in a timeframe so that we will be able to field the first battery” by Sept. 30, the end of the current fiscal year.
But the fielding plan was derailed when the US scrapped the program’s key test Sept. 6 that was canceled after pre-flight checks discovered an issue.
Read More: US Army Cancels Flight Test of Long-Range Hypersonic Weapon
Lockheed Martin Corp. is the systems integrator for the Army’s Long-Range Hypersonic Weapon. It has a reported range of 1,725 miles (2,780 kilometers) and consists of a ground-launched missile equipped with a hypersonic glide body and associated transport, support and fire control equipment. For fiscal 2024, the Army is requesting $944 million for continued research and development and $157 million for procurement.
(Updates in sixth paragraph with background on failed test)
More stories like this are available on bloomberg.com
©2023 Bloomberg L.P.