Kendall: Air Drive ‘Extra Dedicated’ to HACM After Newest Unsuccessful ARRW Check

Whereas the Air Drive launched scant particulars concerning the newest take a look at of its AGM-183 Air-launched Speedy Response Weapon late final week, Secretary Frank Kendall informed a Congressional panel it was “not successful”—and given ARRW’s checkered take a look at historical past general, Kendall indicated the service might shift focus to its different hypersonic program, the Hypersonic Assault Cruise Missile. 

“We’re extra dedicated to HACM at this cut-off date than we’re to ARRW,” Kendall informed members of the Home Appropriations protection subcommittee March 28.  

Whereas Kendall didn’t specify precisely what went flawed within the March 13 take a look at of ARRW—the second take a look at of the all-up system—he did say the Air Drive “didn’t get the information that we would have liked from that take a look at,” and program engineers are “at present inspecting that, making an attempt to know what occurred.”  

After that evaluation is full, “we’ll in all probability should decide on the destiny of ARRW,” he added. 

There are nonetheless two ARRW missiles left that the Air Drive can use for exams, Kendall famous, and after that there could also be “some potential for a leave-behind functionality.” 

If the service does conduct exams with the 2 remaining missiles, “then we’ll revisit it, I feel, as we construct the [2025] price range and see what shall be achieved sooner or later.”  

ARRW has struggled at instances through the testing course of. Three makes an attempt to launch a prototype model of the missile failed in 2021 earlier than a profitable take a look at flight in Might 2022, and the primary take a look at of the operationally-configured weapon on Dec. 9, 2022, was “a really profitable flight, which was an enormous step ahead,” Kendall stated. 

The ARRW is a boost-glide hypersonic weapon, which implies it’s accelerated to hurry by a rocket after which glides to its goal. The Hypersonic Assault Cruise Missile, or HACM, is an air-breathing cruise missile. Lockheed Martin Missiles and Hearth Management makes ARRW; Raytheon is the prime for HACM, which makes use of an engine made by Northrop Grumman. In its 2024 price range, the Air Drive requested $150 million for additional analysis, improvement, take a look at, and analysis of ARRW and $184 million for HACM. 

B-52s are envisioned carrying 4 AGM-183A Air-launched Speedy Response Weapon (ARRW) hypersonic missiles, as proven on this picture illustration. Lockheed Martin

“We have now cash all through the five-year plan to maneuver HACM ahead,” Kendall stated. The weapon’s underlying expertise, developed by the Protection Superior Analysis Tasks Company and the Air Drive Analysis Laboratory, has “been moderately profitable, and we see a particular position for the HACM idea,” he added. 

Kendall additionally stated the HACM, which is smaller than ARRW, is “appropriate with extra of our plane and it’ll give us extra fight functionality general.” The HACM is to be sufficiently small that fighter plane might carry it, whereas solely bombers can carry the ARRW.  

ARRW is a mid-tier acquisition program, Kendall famous, which means that it took benefit of congressional authorization to skip a few of the ordinary procedures in an effort to quickly prototype a weapon, with the aim of demonstrating a usable functionality in a brief time frame and that it may very well be shortly produced at scale.  

In saying the March 13 ARRW take a look at, an Air Drive launch acknowledged it solely met “a number of” targets, and the take a look at crew was amassing knowledge for additional evaluation. The service gave no additional particulars on the time. The aim of the take a look at was to evaluate the ARRW’s “end-to-end efficiency” from captive carry by means of lunch, “booster ignition,” shroud separation, and hypersonic glide “to impression.”  

In its fiscal 2024 price range submission, the Air Drive stated program actions this 12 months will comprise “contract closeout, finalize documentation and evaluation, and actions to help the leave-behind functionality.”  

Lockheed MFC vp for air dominance and strike weapons Jay Pitman stated on the AFA Warfare Symposium earlier this month that the corporate is “able to go” into manufacturing on ARRW and has cleared 26 of 27 manufacturing readiness critiques with the federal government.